Consumer Reports Index: Retail improves in November with a strong outlook for December

NEW YORK It just might be a happy holiday after all! At least, that's the conclusion one could draw from the recent Consumer Reports Index's December 2009 report.

As the article states, consumers have increased their retail spending markedly in November and the outlook for planned purchasing in December is strong. The Consumer Reports Past 30-Day Retail Index (purchases made in November) rose 2%, climbing to 11.2 from 9.0 last month. The outlook for planned purchases in the next 30 days is at 12.2 up from 9.0 the prior month, an increase of 36%.

It has been described as a "reluctant rally" but no less a rally. That's good news in light of consumer sentiment, stress and consumer trouble levels.

The bright spots in planned purchasing in December are personal electronics, which rose to 32.9%, up 8 percentage points from the prior month; small appliances (18.4%), up 5.5 percentage points; major home electronics (14.2%), up 3.5 percentage points; and even major home appliances (7.0%), up 2.6 percentage points.

Considering how much inventory retailers got stuck with last Christmas, that consumers are starting to spend money again has to be considered good news.

Drug Store News isn't sure if this recovery is a "W" or a "V" or a "U," but we'll take this as a sign that the economy might finally be starting to turn the corner.