A day with Brazil’s ambitious but indebted shoppers

February 25, 2013

Asher Levine – Reuters, 02/22/2013

As Fernanda Castro waits in line to pay for a new blender at a store in a Sao Paulo shantytown, the hairdresser recounts horror stories of friends who fell into debt and struggled to get out.

“I don’t want that to happen to me,” she said. “I avoid using the credit card now. I’m afraid of it.”

After a spending spree in recent years, Brazilian consumers are acquiring more conservative habits. But in a hopeful sign for the economy, they are still pressing ahead with big-ticket purchases of TVs and living room sets by relying on a tactic that is still new to many – saving.

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Brazil’s credit-driven consumer boom hits a limit

December 14, 2012

Howard Schneider – The Washington Post, 12/13/2012

By early November, the retailers along bustling Doze Outubro street were in full holiday mode. Balloons and streamers bedecked a newly opened branch of the Magazine Luiza department store, a deep-voiced salesman boomed offers of easy credit through a sidewalk sound system, and store banners summed up the mood of a consumption-crazy nation:

“Come, and be happy.”

For more than a decade, a credit-driven consumption boom has helped fuel economic growth here, expanding the country’s middle class and adding to the success Brazil had already enjoyed through its commodity and agricultural sales. Now, there are signs that that model is fraying, and with it the optimism that the world’s main emerging markets would become permanent props for global economic growth.

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