Retailers face tough climate

Published 10:50 am Friday, November 28, 2008

This morning, shoppers by the thousands poured into stores throughout the Tri-State, trying to grab good deals here and there and get a jump on the holiday shopping season.

The same was true in communities throughout the United States.

Stores are slashing prices in an effort to lure shoppers their way on the biggest shopping day of the year. Unfortunately, the outlook for retailers is dismal.

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“We think the numbers are going to be pretty bad across the board,” Analyst Brady Lemos told the Associated Press.

Experts believe today’s Black Friday sales could be strong early, but will lose steam as the day goes on. They also believe even a good selling day today will not mean success throughout the Christmas shopping season.

They point to a looming recession, job loss and a pattern of reduced consumer spending as a formula that does not bode well for retailers.

Perhaps the lesson is that all the government bailouts to financial giants may be necessary and justified, but it does not put money back in the hands of consumers. The recent reduction of gasoline prices may provide some relief, but whether those saved dollars result in more across-the-board spending is doubtful.

The effect of a “shrinking middle class” over the years may be showing just how devastating it can be. And no matter what tactics are used on Wall Street to prop up the economy, it will never be solidified until consumers are capable of spending money.