From Home Furnishing Business
Retailers Must Work Harder to Woo Consumers
If there was one lesson from this year's holiday shopping season, it is that many traditional retailers are having to work a lot harder to persuade Americans to open their pocketbooks.
A lot of stores had to discount heavily to eke out a modest increase in sales, likely squeezing profit margins in the process.
Some improvement in the U.S. economy and declines in the jobless rate, plus gains in stock and home prices, are failing to resonate with many Americans whose incomes are struggling to catch up to where they were before the financial crisis.
But to many retail experts and economists there are other less cyclical factors at play. Consumers are spending more. Government figures show monthly personal consumption has risen for seven straight months, with November's outlay marking the fastest increase in five months. But they just are not spending in the shopping malls like they used to.
And that means that, even if the economy picks up significantly, retailers of many products could still struggle.
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