Wal-Mart shoppers doing more comparison shopping: NRF

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A new survey conducted by Bigresearch for the National Retail Federation that compared Wal-Mart shoppers with Macy's shoppers found that 38 percent of Macy's shoppers said fluctuating gas prices have had no major impact on their spending, while only 28 percent of Wal-Mart shoppers said the same.

Wal-Mart shoppers are coping with this uncertainty by shopping closer to home (48.2 percent), taking fewer shopping trips (49.5 percent) and shopping for sales more often (42.1 percent).

In addition, 32.2 percent of Wal-Mart shoppers are doing more comparative shopping with ad circulars and 19.3 percent are doing more comparison-shopping online.

Consumers are doing more comparative shopping this year, both online and using advertising circulars, said Phil Rist, vice president of Worthington, OH-based Bigresearch, who spoke during a Dec. 1 conference call organized by NRF.

"There is a sector of the economy that has a lot of money and that will always be impulsive," Mr. Rist said. "For the rest of the folks that are pressured by energy prices and reading about housing values, they're not being impulsive. They're being more practical and purposeful this holiday season."

Approximately 60 percent of U.S. adults, or roughly 125 to 130 million people, regularly shop at Wal-Mart throughout the year, while only 9.2 percent of U.S. adults regularly shop at Macy's, according to the survey.

The average Wal-Mart shopper plans to spend $764.09 on presents this holiday season, which is close to the national average of $791.10. Macy's shoppers plan to spend $1,102.15.

The preferred payment method for Wal-Mart customers this holiday season is debit cards, while the preferred method for Macy's customers is the credit card.

The survey showed the best-selling categories this holiday season will be clothing; books, DVDs, CDs and video games; gift cards; toys and electronics.

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