Retailers to Shoppers: Hang in There

At an industry confab, everyone expressed high hopes, while battling growing fears that consumers could soon stay home

Nary a frown was in sight at Boston's Four Seasons Hotel July 9-10, as consumer-product company executives and institutional investors gathered for the annual Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBA) World Markets conference. And who could fault this group for putting on a happy face? While 2002 has seen the telecom sector crash, and others pummeled all year long, stocks of retailers, restaurants, and other consumer services have been holding up nicely, thanks to the determination of American consumers to keep their wallets open, even after September 11.

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