Report: The consumer is back

Holiday sales unleashed three years of pent-up demand during the key 2010 shopping season, according to a report from Customer Growth Partners.

Sales in the 2010 holiday period were up more about 5%, according to CGP's surveys and government data. That's the biggest year-over-year growth since 2005, when sales increased 6.1%.

“The American consumer is back, big time," said Craig Johnson, CGP president. "He has single-handedly strapped the economy on his back, climbed out of the ditch, and is off and running—despite 10% unemployment. Since consumers represent 70% of the economy, it is entirely possible that fourth quarter GDP growth could reach 5% -- because it’s no coincidence that 1999’s stellar retail 4th quarter generated extraordinary GDP growth of 7.4%."

Some of the retailers that are seeing the strongest growth are “home-related retailers that have been in deep freeze for four years,” Johnson said, such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Williams-Sonoma, which are having outstanding rebound seasons, he said.

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