“It’s going to be as competitive of a market as we’ve ever seen,” said Charles Holley, Wal-Mart’s chief financial officer, adding that among the issues that the discounter faces are “the economic conditions that the customer is under.”
Stores also say customers don’t want to spend because they’re uncertain about their health care costs next year due to the U.S. health care overhaul. Additionally, stagnant wages aren’t keeping up with daily living costs. Not to mention, some people are still out of work.
Leslie Lynch, 52, said she won’t be buying any holiday gifts because she was laid off from her job in marketing at an insurance company in August 2012 and hasn’t been able to find a job since. Lynch, who lives with her wife who works in quality control at a machine shop, said she is behind in mortgage payments and is afraid she will lose her house.
“We will probably have dinner and that’s about it,” said Lynch, who lives in Glastonbury, Conn. “Hopefully, we will have Christmas next summer.”
AP Economics Writer Chris Rugaber in Washington contributed to this report.
Follow Anne D’Innocenzio at www.Twitter.com/adinnocenzio.