From: Reuters
Published November 19, 2007 12:06 PM

Fuel costs seen cutting holiday spending

By Karey Wutkowski

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of consumers expecting to cut holiday spending is at its highest level in recent years, with most citing high gasoline and home heating costs, according to an industry survey released on Monday.

But fewer consumers are saying they are concerned about making monthly payments on mortgage and consumer loans, despite a widespread subprime mortgage crisis that has resulted in a credit crunch.

The survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) found that 35 percent of U.S. adults surveyed plan to spend less during the holidays this year than the previous year, up from 32 percent last year.

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"It suggests a number of U.S. households are feeling financially strapped and are looking for ways to cut spending," said CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel during a briefing.

"It will be a tough year for retailers."

The survey was conducted between November 8 and November 11 among more than 1,000 U.S. adults. Hampel said the percentage of Americans saying they plan to decrease holiday spending was at its highest level in the eight years the survey has been conducted.

Many consumers think a recession could be looming, according to a recent survey by America@

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