The Worst Christmas Since 2002, According to CNBC's Exclusive Holiday Central Survey


ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., September 25, 2007 --- It's beginning to look like Christmas...a dismal Christmas from an economic point of view, according to CNBC's Holiday Central Survey released today during CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (9AM-11AM ET) anchored by Mark Haines and Erin Burnett.

According to the snap survey taken today of more than 35 strategists, money managers and investment advisers, this holiday season will be the worst Christmas since the economy emerged from the recession in 2002. Of those surveyed, 53% say consumer holiday spending will only increase 1-3% compared to last year, which saw gains of 4.6%. Amidst the doomsayers though, 33% believe consumer holiday spending will increase 4-6% despite these trying economic times.

CNBC's Holiday Central survey results also reveal 44% of those surveyed say wages will have the biggest impact on consumer spending this year. With the housing market under pressure, 42% say home prices will have the biggest impact and few thought gas prices would be a factor. Of those surveyed, 51% said taxes would have the smallest impact on consumer spending this year.

But tighter credit standards cause most consumers to pull back on their holiday shopping. A healthy 44% of those surveyed said they would impact Christmas spending even though a majority thought the credit crunch would not matter.

In addition to concerns about the housing market, the possibility of lead paint in toys from China will cause consumers to buy fewer toys from China, according to 40% of those surveyed. Survey results also reveal 31% of those surveyed said the possibility of lead will have no effect and 26% say consumers will buy more toys made in the United States.

The nationwide survey of more than 35 strategists, money managers and investment advisers asked their opinions on topics including U.S. consumer spending, concerns about lead paint in toys from China and tighter credit standards. The results were revealed on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (9AM-11AM ET) and throughout the rest of the day today on CNBC, First in Business Worldwide.

For more details regarding CNBC's exclusive Holiday Central Survey and the official results, log onto

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