Early indications suggest Canadian retailers saw no sales growth this holiday shopping season as consumers focused on their finances rather than their urge to splurge.
Retail analyst Jim Danahy of CustomerLAB says major retailers are reporting flat Christmas sales this year and low turnouts for Boxing Day shopping.
He calls the preliminary holiday shopping season results disappointing, but not surprising, given dismal consumer confidence and high household debt.
Weak holiday shopping sales at clothing chain Reitmans, where December sales fell 0.1 per cent, also suggest other retailers may be in for a rough ride.
Consumers worried about the slumping economy and their finances are tightening their wallets and look for even bigger bargains to part with their money.
However, Danahy notes there's still time for sales to improve due to an extended shopping season this year as schools are closed this week and many Canadians take vacation.