Fewer Rings On The Cash Registers

The outlook for retailing in 1991 is, in a word, miserable. In the 1980s, low unemployment and inflation created a sense of prosperity that translated into inflation-adjusted sales increases of about 3% a year for the $1.4 trillion retailing industry. But now, David Kelly, a DRI/McGraw-Hill consumer analyst, figures that inflation-adjusted retail sales actually dropped 1% for all of 1990. And for 1991, he's looking for a further slide of 2.4%. The last time sales were this soft was in the 1982 recession.

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