“I don’t think we’re going to get a great pickup in the last few days here,” said Ron Friedman, retail practice leader at consulting firm Marcum LLP, explaining how the uncertainty related to the “cliff” was weighing on American minds.
About 17% of the 1,514 Americans who participated in a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted December 17-20 said the impending “fiscal cliff” was making them spend less this season.
“We just try to stay on a budget. We’re not going crazy,” said Tom Chowinski, a market researcher at Nielsen.
Chowinski did not completely understand the details of the looming fiscal cliff, but said seeing the debate’s impact on the stock market gave him pause.
Some shoppers, like Carmen De Jesus, 45, a home nurse living in New York, were more cautious.
De Jesus said she is spending less than last year, buying gifts only for her closest kin, and nothing for herself. “I don’t need it,” De Jesus said at a TJ Maxx store on Saturday morning. "The economy is not good.”