Sears, Home Depot May Lose 8% of Holiday Sales on Credit Limits

Looks like predictions of a less happy holiday shopping season are true and this article supports my position in Expect Tidal Wave Of Limit Reductions and Credit Card Closures to Hit Before Christmas.

Home Depot Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and other retailers may lose as much as 8 percent of their holiday sales this year because lenders and stores are clamping down on financing.

Almost a quarter of shoppers say banks cut the spending limits on their credit cards, according to a survey by America’s Research Group, which also provided the sales-loss estimate. More people are being rejected for new cards, hurting sales for bigger purchases. Demand is being pinched just as retailers prepare to enter the holiday selling season, which accounts for as much as 35 percent of their annual revenue.

“Banks just don’t have the money,” said David Bassuk, a New York-based managing director at consulting firm AlixPartners LLP. The tightening credit is putting retailers “at big risk to lose those sales or lose those customers,” he said. “There is a big concern there with the holiday spending.”

A quarter of consumers polled in a Standard & Poor’s survey released Oct. 15 said they’re at or near the limits on their primary credit card, and 20 percent said they’re approaching the limit on their secondary cards.

Outstanding credit-card debt has risen 75 percent since 1999, while real wages have grown 4 percent in the same period, according to a report last month by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, headquartered in New York.

Target Corp., the second-biggest U.S. discount chain, is cutting credit lines and granting fewer increases to store-card holders to cope with the “very difficult credit environment,” said Chief Financial Officer Douglas Scovanner.

Chase Card Services, a unit of JPMorgan, “has lowered the credit limits of customers who have shown signs of increased risk,” spokeswoman Tanya Madison said in an e-mail. It’s still boosting them for its most credit-worthy customers.

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Source: Sears, Home Depot May Lose 8% of Holiday Sales on Credit Limits

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