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Consumers cutting back on cutbacks

Bob Moon Jun 22, 2009
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Consumers cutting back on cutbacks

Bob Moon Jun 22, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Retail stocks ended on an up note on Friday. But when can we expect that sunny sentiment to show up at the cash register? Here’s Marketplace’s Bob Moon.


Bob Moon: If only penny-pinching consumers had a little extra spending money, retail consultant Wendy Leibmann says it wouldn’t take much for it to start burning a hole in their pocket:

Wendy Leibmann: You know, they’ve just been so locked in they feel like they’ve been hermits.

Liebmann heads WSL Strategic Retail. Her research is detecting an ever-so-slight shift in consumer spending:

Liebmann: They’re not cutting back as much as they were — and that’s partly because they’ve cut back so much over the last 18 months. It’s really just that the cutting back has been cut back, if you know what I mean.

That’s a hopeful sign — but there’s also a discouraging sign hanging over our heads that reads “buyers beware:”

Liebmann: One in three tell us that they are very concerned about themselves or somebody in their family losing a job in the near future. So there is that real, it’s not even underlying concern, it’s really a fundamental concern.

And the rise in gas prices is diverting what might otherwise be extra spending money.

So in spite of subtle shifts in some consumer confidence surveys, Liebmann says it could take some time for that wishful thinking to really register.

In Los Angeles, I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.

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