Press-Republican

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December 13, 2012

Christmas spending a mixed bag so far

'With this economic crisis … people are definitely corner cutting'

PLATTSBURGH — Adam Love doesn’t have plans for any last-minute shopping.

The Massena man was camped out on a bench at Champlain Centre as shoppers with gift-filled bags of all sizes strolled from store to store. He sat with a few bags of his own but said his Christmas shopping had wrapped up, giving the credit for the quick work to his wife.

“My wife is phenomenal with that,” he said.

As the shopping season entered its third week, Love wasn’t alone in having his shopping complete.

Bryan Trombley of Ellenburg Depot said he didn’t need to spend much time out and about to complete his gift buying. He said he did most of his shopping online this year because prices were comparable or cheaper there, and, for the same price as some stores, he could have his purchases delivered to his door.

CONSUMERS CONFIDENT

Regardless of where consumers are buying their gifts, they’re confident about spending. The November Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was at a four-year high of 73.7, up 0.6 points from October.

The last time it surpassed that height was February 2008, when it hit 76.4, according to the Conference Board’s website.

Both Love and Trombley felt those findings are accurate.

That doesn’t mean consumers haven’t put away extra money, though. Robert Leabo of Plattsburgh said the Consumer Confidence Index may not take into account the average person on a fixed budget.

“With this economic crisis we’re in, people are definitely corner cutting,” he said. “The average, everyday person saves by corner cutting. They have to take money from somewhere.”

CANADIAN ADVANTAGE

For Canadian shoppers, that “corner cutting” may include taking advantage of cheaper prices for some goods in the United States.

Stephan Noel and Erin Duheme of Montreal were finishing their shopping in Plattsburgh because the prices here are better than in Montreal, Noel said.

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