Thursday, September 17, 2009
Not to worry ... the Federales can always hand out gift cards
(And then claim the breakage as a gain in next year's budget. -AM)
By SARA MURRAY and ANN ZIMMERMAN
Wall Street Journal
A recent survey by CIT Group Inc. of small and medium-sized companies found that about two-thirds of responding retailers foresee offering greater discounts this Christmas than in 2008. They also expect to stock less inventory, reflecting the 1% drop in business inventories in July from the prior month, to a seasonally adjusted $1.33 trillion, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
Despite the first gain in underlying retail sales in six months and a lift in positive consumer sentiment, retail sales are still 5.3% lower than a year earlier. And retail executives maintained a sober outlook for the coming months, according to a recent survey by BDO Seidman LLP, an accounting and consulting firm. Half of the 100 chief financial officers at leading U.S. retailers anticipate that total sales, as well as sales at stores open at least a year, an important measure of retail health, will decrease in the second half of 2009, compared with a year ago.