Consumers are feeling the gloomiest about their finances in more than two decades and are not in the mood to splurge this festive season, spelling trouble for retailers and the economy on the brink of technical recession.

The consumer confidence index, a measure of how optimistic or pessimistic consumers are about the future economic situation and their own financial prospects, slipped to minus 17 index points in the fourth quarter, a survey by the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) in partnership with FNB showed on Thursday. This is the lowest festive-season consumer confidence reading in more than two decades...

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