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Renita Jablonski: Stores from Costco to Gap will tell us how retail sales went in January. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.
Ashley Milne-Tyte: January was full of big sales. It was also full of job losses.
Stephen Platt runs the Platt Retail Institute in Chicago. He says vicious winter storms didn't help retailers either.
Stephen Platt: Weather is a big factor. You start factoring that in, you start factoring the state of the economy. The earnings are going to be very disappointing.
Platt says far fewer shoppers tramped through stores than retailers had hoped.
Retail analyst John Morris says stores are steeling themselves for a quiet spring, in part because of their own efforts to lure customers with huge markdowns.
John Morris: The big concern on retailers' minds is what kind of an impact this promotional activity has had on the psyche of the consumer -- 80 percent off is the new 60 percent off.
He says if the consumer is now hooked on bargains, stores will face tough conditions for the rest of the year.
In New York, I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.