shoppersThe holiday season was a heck of a party for retailers, but consumers are now nursing a shopping hangover that will keep them out of the nation's stores in January and February.

While November and December will go down in the record books thanks to consumers spending like it was 1999, January retail sales are expected to sink to some of their lowest levels as Americans take stock of their credit-card spending binge, according to America's Research Group, the consumer research and marketing firm.

"Now that those credit card bills are hitting mailboxes, shoppers will cut back in a very significant way relative to [the] January and February of the last few years," said Britt Beemer, group chairman of America's Research Group, in a statement.

Certainly holiday 2011 stands in stark contrast to the previous few years, when recession-scarred consumers were in a conservative frame of mind. This time, shoppers unleashed their pent up spending impulses -- and racked up debt. Credit card spending climbed 7% in November and was up in the first half of December, according to First Data, which tracks consumer payment data.

The growth this holiday in online shopping, which is entirely credit-driven, also helped consumers incur that debt this January, ARG says.

"Americans now face the challenge of bigger credit card debt until they get their income tax refunds," Beemer said. "Unless consumers see '70% off', they will be holding back [on spending] in January and in February and possibly into the spring."

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Mike

Same OLD, tired, libtard, LIE! Always with the single digit growth. Real inflation is over 15% and rising. This means we spent more to get LESS! That’s called CONTRACTION to all non kool aid libtards!

January 05 2012 at 6:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chaspharrington

AND WHO SAYS THEY PLAN TO PAY THEIR CREDIT CARD BALANCES OFF ANYWATY, IN THEY ARE UNDER WATER ON THIER HOME, OR HVE LOST THIER HOME TO FORCLOSURE, MAYBE THEY JUST DECIDED TO GO FOR IT ALL AT ONE TIME, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO THE CREDIT CARD COMPANIES, MAYBE NOT!!!

January 05 2012 at 8:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
caveat1983

We have to stick every dime into our gas tanks again now that gas is spiking. Merry Christmas.

January 05 2012 at 12:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
magentaruby1

Cash is the only way to go, and anyone can do it if you try hard enough and want to. Anything can be done. :) So you don't have this, or that, but in the end, with cash, it's all worth it!

January 04 2012 at 10:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
teltech543

This isn't news. Everyone knew this was going to happen.

January 04 2012 at 6:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Same OLD, tired, libtard, LIE! Always with the single digit growth. Real inflation is over 15% and rising. This means we spent more to get LESS! That’s called CONTRACTION to all non kool aid libtards!

January 04 2012 at 5:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe

Writers are A-holes! Finally some good news on the retail front and all they can do is put a negative spin on it. Spending is up, but that is a bad thing because of the coming credit card bills. If holiday spending was down, that would also be reported as a negative. Too many "writers" out there with nothing to write about. All they can come up with is garbage!

January 04 2012 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Roxanne

Holiday Spending Binge? If you pay CASH and don't use credit cards then you have no worries. Credit cards are a trap. The issuers love to trap you. Do yourself a favor and convince yourself that if you can't pay cash - you can't afford it! Cut up the credit cards and never use them again. If you are going to use a credit card you should be of a mindset that you pay it off every month, so you don't charge more than you can afford. Most people are unable to do that, so it is better to use cash only. CASH! CASH! CASH!

January 04 2012 at 1:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Roxanne's comment
bggdg

"Most people are unable to do that"?

Roxanne, DON'T drink the water!

January 04 2012 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jlm9

When people see they are being charged almost 30% interest, you bet they are going to be tightening their belts to pay those credit cards off..Everything is tight in this economy and although many spent more this year, than in the last couple of years, everyone knows it wasn't going to remain lasting luxury..everyone needed a break from not spending and we got it..now we have to pay off everything and start over with being stingy again..

January 04 2012 at 1:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jlm9's comment
bggdg

Where are these people kept who use their credit cards only to discover the interest they are being charged after the fact?

The asylum, perhaps? Or the zoo?

January 04 2012 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
l07hye

I only purchased for my grandchildren, and then I only bought memberships to the Y for the whole family. Gives them something to do all year long.

January 04 2012 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply