Consumer Trends

'Tis really could be a season to be jolly

New research suggests the Grinch won’t find many sympathizers among restaurateurs this holiday season.

A survey of corporate HR specialists shows considerably more companies are planning to hold end-of-year parties next month, and many plan to spend more than they have in the past. Restaurants are commonly the sites of such corporate bashes.

A similar generosity will be evident this year among gift-card buyers, according to the Retail Merchants Federation. A survey by the group shows almost a third (30.2%) of consumers intend to give someone a restaurant gift card this holiday season.

The propensity is actually down from the 2011 level (33.1%). However, the data suggest card givers might be loading more dollaron their plastic presents. For instance, just under 10 percent of respondents said they intend to give a card valued at $201 to $300, compared with the 8.5% who reported popping for those amounts last year.

Nearly one in five (17%) of the companies planning a holiday party have budgeted more for the fetes than they did in the past, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement concern.

The firm’s survey of HR departments also showed that there will be far more party bookings this year. Eighty-three of respondents said they’ll cap the year with a celebratory event, compared with 68 percent last year.




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