Shoppers pulling back the reins

A shopper carries a Nordstrom bag in Chicago's Michigan Avenue shopping district.

TEXT OF STORY

Lisa Napoli: It's a make-or-break day for a lot of retailers. Some opened their doors as early as midnight to encourage you to part with your cash -- or your plastic. The National Retail Federation is predicting slower sales growth this year, and Marketplace's Amy Scott says electronics retailers are particularly worried.


Amy Scott: Shares in Circuit City, Radio Shack, and Sony have all taken a beating this fall. Best Buy's had its ups and downs.

Rick Weinhart tracks consumer electronics for BMO Capital Markets. He says high gas prices, the housing recession, and low consumer morale don't bode well for holiday gadget sales.

Rick Weinhart: There's a lot of reasons to think that consumers again will pull back the reigns as much as possible.

Then there's the lack of a big must-have hit this year. Nintendo's Wii game console is pretty hot, but the company is warning of shortages.

Analyst Chris Crotty with iSupply heard the same doom and gloom this time last year. He says people still went shopping.

Chris Crotty: They wound up spending their money on lower-ticket consumer electronics, like digital cameras and mp3 players. So we might see more of that again this year.

BMO's Rick Weinhart says we might see something else that happened last year: Profit margins shrank as retailers slashed prices just to get shoppers in the door.

In New York, I'm Amy Scott for Marketplace.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.

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