According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, financial analysts seem to have varying opinions on upcoming retail this holiday season. For the most part they seem to agree that things are looking up. Some commented to the likeness that being down for so long there is only one way to go. Although still below last year, recent sales figures have depicted some hope with increases above previous quarters. Others still indicate that the economic status is not necessarily improving, but instead it is flat lining. Retailers are on the edges of their seats anticipating this holiday season, so many have already gone out of business and many more are on the verge. Cost cutting across the board from salary decreases and layoffs to reducing costs through restricting company travel and other non-necessities has managed to keep some companies afloat. However, this upcoming quarter may make or break many more businesses, retail and otherwise.

An important point that I picked up on was one that I have seen discussed a lot throughout this entire downturn, the consumer outlook. As consumers we drive the economy with purchases of goods and services. Our first instinct when financial stresses begin is to retract into our shells and stop spending money. Even though in some cases this may be the right thing to do, I think people sometimes go to the extreme and stop spending altogether. Consumers don’t realize sometimes that they are a major player in the game that we call the economic flow. During the holidays are when consumers spend the most all year sharing the goods and services we so enjoy ourselves with friends and family. We can still be financially conscious while spending money this season so my advice is to get out there and get the economy flowing. After all it’s all the retailers want for Christmas!

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Jennifer Ulrich

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