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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Retail rebound?

This year's Black Friday shopping was either a stunning success or a dismal failure, depending on which analysts you believe.

It was a success because shoppers spent an estimated $10.6 billion in the nation’s stores on the day after Thanksgiving – a healthy $300 million more than on the same day in 2007, when the economy was stable and the Dow Jones industrial average was about 5,000 points higher than it is now.

But it was a disaster, the doomsayers insist, because even though people spent more money, the stores will make far less profit than they did a year ago due to prices being slashed in an effort to attract shoppers.

It’s the classic glass-half-full/glass-half-empty scenario, and I choose to be among the optimists.

Why? Because at a time when the economy is failing, the stock market is in the crapper, retirement savings are vanishing and millions of people are at risk of losing their jobs and their homes, Americans still spent more money on this year’s Black Friday than they did in better times.

That’s a testament to the resiliency of this great nation, and it gives me reason to believe that things are not (and will not be) as bad as the pessimists insist.



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