Retailers Aren't Feeling Too Jolly

November 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The DOW Jones dropped over 400 points on Wednesday as retailers reported dismal sales figures and predicted that consumer spending will continue to decline over the holiday shopping season. Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst, NPD Group, says "We are seeing a revolutionary type of change in the consumer; they have come to a screeching halt."

On Wednesday Best Buy reported troubling retail numbers. Its October sales were down 7 percent and they say by December sales could drop nearly 15 percent. And the outlook isn't much better for other retailers.

Macy's lost 44 million dollars in the 3rd quarter, sales were down more than six-percent, JC Penney was down almost 12- percent and Dillard's down 8 percent.

One reason consumers aren't spending is concern over jobs. Adrianne Shapira, Retail Analyst, Goldman Sachs, says "People who are employed now it is imprudent to shop, I mean they have seen colleagues let go."

And another cause for concern is the failing housing market. October home foreclosure filings figures show nearly 280,000 homes received foreclosure notices, up 5 percent over September.

Economists are not optimistic that things are going to improve anytime soon. "2009 is going to be the first year since 1980 that we see a drop in consumer spending," says Cohen.

The latest ABC News survey shows that tight credit, and job fears have driven consumer confidence to the lowest levels in 22 years.

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