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Doug Krizner: The market is also concerned about ho-hum holidays sales. A new survey says just 49 percent of consumers shopped this past weekend. They only visited a couple of stores. The rest are waiting for deeper discounts. Here's Ashley Milne-Tyte.
Ashley Milne-Tyte: About 40 percent of consumers said they hadn't hit the shops since Thanksgiving. And most of them, like Danielle Barclay of New York, were focused on bargains.
Danielle Barclay: The two or three items I picked up I thought, you know, you couldn't beat 'em. I figured I'd wait to get the rest to see how low the prices would go, and see if I could get even better deals later on.
Not exactly what stores want to hear, says Candace Corlett of WSL Strategic retail. She says it's not just high gas prices that are making shoppers think twice. The must-have items of Christmases past, like iPods or flat-screen TVs, have lost their status.
Candace Corlett: I think we may even be at the point where everyone has so much of what's out there, that people will be waiting for a sale just because they have to get a gift, and they'll buy whatever has the lowest price.
She expects retailers to post some bleak midwinter profit numbers.
In New York, I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.