The numbers are in and bear out the anecdotal evidence that retailers suffered a dismal season. Despite the usual suspects' insistence that small gains in the final week signal a healthy economy, the fact remains that those sales were driven by loss leaders and when it comes down to figuring out the profits, one expects most of the major retailers won't be wearing smiley faces.
Who did well? Luxury good purveyors, who capitalized on the 'have mores' who benefited from the Bushenomic house of cards and sellers of items targeted to the born again Christians. The Denver Post in a piece aptly titled, Jesus may save, but Christians spend, runs the numbers.
The Christian market, however, with almost 70 million American adults and $2.1 trillion, or 28 percent of the national annual income in 2006, is the main event. [...]But the most interesting success story in the evangelical marketplace is this product line.
This Christmas there are evangelical Christian toys, DVDs, candies, wines, alarm clocks and books. The creator of G.I. Joe action figures, Don Levine, is offering a line called Almighty Heroes, featuring Moses, Samson and other Bible characters. Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, is carrying Christian action figures from One2believe in 425 of its stores. [...]
California-based Fishermen Inc. has an "I Am" line of Jesus figurines depicting Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns, engaged in activities such as bull riding, surfing, panhandling and soccer.Jesus wore combat boots? Brings a whole new meaning to Christian soldier.
Some of the figures have triggered controversy, particularly the one called "I Am Peace," in which a camouflage-wearing Jesus has a combat rifle slung over his shoulder and holds a dove.
Meanwhile, the Christian holiday is alive and well in the little economic powerhouse of Dubai. Funny, in a country where only about 3% of the total population is categorized as "Western" and quarter of the population traces their origins to Iran, even the Muslims are defecting in the so-called War on Christmas. [h/t Jules Siegel]