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Anyone still think the economy is bad? (Nov Jobs report on p6)

Old 11-30-04, 10:44 AM
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Anyone still think the economy is bad?

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp..._nm/economy_dc

<img src="http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/nm/20041130/gdp_q304c_graphic.gif">
Consumers Fuel Faster Economic Growth

By Glenn Somerville

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Robust consumer spending on cars, furniture and food helped the U.S. economy advance faster than first thought in the third quarter, a government report showed, while underlying inflation was the tamest in decades.

The Commerce Department (news - web sites) said on Tuesday gross domestic product, the measure of all goods and services produced within U.S. borders, grew at a 3.9 percent annual pace in the three months from July through September, up from 3.7 percent estimated a month ago.

This was the second of three government estimates for quarterly GDP (news - web sites) and beat Wall Street economists' predictions that the third-quarter advance would be unchanged from the first snapshot at 3.7 percent.

The gain marked the sixth successive quarter GDP has expanded at a rate exceeding 3 percent, implying healthy and sustainable growth.

Consumers ratcheted up spending at a 5.1 percent annual pace, more than three times the 1.6 percent rate in the second quarter and the strongest since a 7 percent surge in the fourth quarter of 2001. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the $11-trillion U.S. economy.

MORE RATE RISES LOOM

Analysts said the GDP report was a reassuring sign that growth was on a safe track and added that it gave the Federal Reserve (news - web sites) leeway to keep raising interest rates without fear of choking off growth.

"Really the economy seems to be running at a 4 percent growth rate and that is what this number is pointing out," said Tim Mazanec, a currency strategist with Investors Bank and Trust in Boston. "This should not persuade the Fed to change their measured rate-hike moves."

Inflation data within the GDP report suggested the Fed has little to fear from price pressures.

A key price gauge favored by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan (news - web sites) -- the personal consumption expenditure index excluding food and energy costs -- rose at a mild 0.7 percent rate in the third quarter, the smallest pickup since a 0.5 percent gain in the fourth quarter of 1962.

U.S. central bank policy-makers next meet Dec. 14 to mull interest-rate strategy. They have lifted short-term borrowing costs at each of their last four gatherings and many economists expect another increase from a still-low 2 percent federal funds rate to come in December.

The relatively strong GDP number initially helped the battered dollar regain some ground against the euro, while bond prices slipped on expectation of more Fed interest rate rises.

The Commerce Department said damage wreaked by four major hurricanes cut some $80 billion from U.S. corporate profits in the third quarter. After tax, profits fell 2.0 percent in the period, after slipping 0.7 percent in the second.

Business spending on capital equipment remained vigorous, with nonresidential investment -- seen as a proxy for overall corporate investing -- accelerating to a 12.9 percent rate of advance from 12.5 percent in the second quarter.

Equipment and software spending, associated with rising productivity since it involves upgrading computers and increased automation, shot up at a 17.2 percent rate.

Companies added to inventories at $35.9-billion annual rate during the third quarter, down from $61.1 billion in the second quarter. Analysts welcomed this since lean inventories mean less overhang of unsold goods to rein in future production.

"In general, it shows the overall core part of the economy was stronger than we thought initially," said economist Jay Bryson of Wachovia Securities in Charlotte, N.C.

I'm sure there are still some problem areas and concerns but overall how do people feel about the economy?
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Old 11-30-04, 10:48 AM
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I sincerely believe a couple of more tax cuts for the wealthy will fix things right up.

I'm sure this administration & the Repubs will be more than happy to oblige.
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Old 11-30-04, 10:51 AM
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I'm quite happy with the current state of the economy.
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Old 11-30-04, 10:55 AM
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Yeah.....and it looks like a bunch of other people think so too.


http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...mer_confidence

Consumer Confidence Sinks for 4th Month

8 minutes ago Business - AP


By ADAM GELLER, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK - Consumer confidence declined in November for a fourth consecutive month, a private research group reported Tuesday, reflecting doubts about the economy once the holidays are past.

The Conference Board (news - web sites) said its Consumer Confidence Index (news - web sites) fell to 90.5, down from a revised reading of 92.9 in October, defying market expectations. Analysts had forecast the index would rise to 96.0.

The November figure marks the lowest point in the index since March, when it registered 88.5. The closely watched gauge of consumer sentiment has been in decline since peaking in July.

"With consumers' assessment of current conditions holding steadfast and intentions to spend for the holiday season up from a year ago, the outlook for retailers is mildly encouraging," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "But looking beyond the upcoming holidays, the continuing erosion in expectations suggests consumers do not feel the economy is likely to gain major momentum in early 2005."

Economists keep a close watch on measures of consumer confidence because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of all U.S. economic activity.

The consumer confidence reading was one of two economic reports released Tuesday. In the other, the government said that economy grew at an annual rate of 3.9 percent in the third quarter, better than had been expected.

The drop in the confidence index reflected the mixed mood of the public. A component index tracking consumers' feelings about the current economy rose to 95.2 from 94.0 last month.

But the Expectations Index, reflecting their outlook, fell markedly to 87.4 from 92.2 in October.

The Conference Board's readings are based on responses received through Nov. 16 to a survey mailed to 5,000 households. The figures for October were revised after all the surveys for that month were tabulated.

The report said that consumers' assessment of the current climate varied.

Those saying that jobs are plentiful decreased to 16.8 percent from 17.4 percent, while those claiming jobs are hard to get rose to 28.1 percent from 27.9 percent.

But that was countered by an improvement in views on overall business conditions, with those appraising them as good increasing to 23.0 percent from 21.6 percent. Those who said conditions are bad declined to 20.5 percent from 21.4 percent.

Meanwhile, their appraisal of the future continued to cloud. Those who expect business conditions to worsen in the next six months increased to 11.9 percent from 10.5 percent. The number expecting an improvement declined to 19.3 percent from 20.7 percent.

The number of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead rose to 19.7 percent from 18.3 percent, while those who expect more jobs was essentially unchanged at 16.8 percent.

Stocks were trading lower following the release of the report. In morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 16.85, or 0.2 percent to 10,459.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 index shed 2.66, or 0.2 percent, to 1,175.91. The Nasdaq composite index fell 3.54, or 0.2 percent, to 2,103.33.
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Old 11-30-04, 11:11 AM
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Wal-Mart posted lower than expected sales. A relative who works retail was told not to come in over the post-Thanksgiving weekend because sales were slow. It's already bad enough for her because the store only allows part-timers so they don't have to pay any benefits. She can't get many hours..

I'm workng on trying to get people into a local conference and it's extremely tough. No one wants to spend any money. Business sponsorship is even worse. We've cut out half of our events that were no problem to do even just a few years ago. There's still alot of belt-tightening going on. The conference business is extremely bad.

I'm going on 2 years with no raise. My spouse 4 years. But prices at the store keep going up.

Some relatives had to cancel giving Christmas gifts this year because of financial concerns (they are seniors and prescription medicines keep going up). I still think it's a general economic malaise.
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Old 11-30-04, 11:13 AM
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So then where is all this GDP growth coming from and why has there been a steady increase in jobs over the last couple of months (although I guess we'll have to see what this past month brings later in the week)?
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Old 11-30-04, 11:36 AM
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Originally posted by shifrbv
Wal-Mart posted lower than expected sales. A relative who works retail was told not to come in over the post-Thanksgiving weekend because sales were slow. It's already bad enough for her because the store only allows part-timers so they don't have to pay any benefits. She can't get many hours..

I'm workng on trying to get people into a local conference and it's extremely tough. No one wants to spend any money. Business sponsorship is even worse. We've cut out half of our events that were no problem to do even just a few years ago. There's still alot of belt-tightening going on. The conference business is extremely bad.

I'm going on 2 years with no raise. My spouse 4 years. But prices at the store keep going up.

Some relatives had to cancel giving Christmas gifts this year because of financial concerns (they are seniors and prescription medicines keep going up). I still think it's a general economic malaise.
wal mart has been in trouble for the last year

WSJ is running an article today about how other retailers undercut wal mart this year and how wally world's management royally screwed up this holiday season. other retailers reported growth of 10% or more, and online retailers are at 100% growth
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Old 11-30-04, 12:01 PM
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Anyone still think the economy is bad?

Yes, people without jobs. But that's always the case.
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Old 11-30-04, 12:08 PM
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{sarcasm on}
yes, it's HORRIBLE,
and it's all the President's fault too.
{sarcasm off}

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Old 11-30-04, 12:09 PM
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I donít shop at Wal-Mart unless I need cheap TP. I did a ton of shopping at Sears, JCPenney, Best Buy and EBGames. All of those guys are reporting major gains. Iíd have to admit that this year has been good for me and I spent a little over $3,000 in cash not credit over the post Thanksgiving weekend. Something I havenít been able to do for a long time.
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Old 11-30-04, 12:14 PM
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I had a discussion with an aquiantance that is convinced we are in a recession now.
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Old 11-30-04, 03:03 PM
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Originally posted by nemein
So then where is all this GDP growth coming from...
I'm guessing the 3 biggest contributors to the GDP right now are:

1) Construction of new houses
2) Military
3) Recovery from hurricane season
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Old 11-30-04, 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by wabio
Yeah.....and it looks like a bunch of other people think so too.


http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...mer_confidence

Consumer Confidence Sinks for 4th Month

8 minutes ago Business - AP


By ADAM GELLER, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK - Consumer confidence declined in November for a fourth consecutive month, a private research group reported Tuesday, reflecting doubts about the economy once the holidays are past.

The Conference Board (news - web sites) said its Consumer Confidence Index (news - web sites) fell to 90.5, down from a revised reading of 92.9 in October, defying market expectations. Analysts had forecast the index would rise to 96.0.

The November figure marks the lowest point in the index since March, when it registered 88.5. The closely watched gauge of consumer sentiment has been in decline since peaking in July.

"With consumers' assessment of current conditions holding steadfast and intentions to spend for the holiday season up from a year ago, the outlook for retailers is mildly encouraging," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "But looking beyond the upcoming holidays, the continuing erosion in expectations suggests consumers do not feel the economy is likely to gain major momentum in early 2005."

Economists keep a close watch on measures of consumer confidence because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of all U.S. economic activity.

The consumer confidence reading was one of two economic reports released Tuesday. In the other, the government said that economy grew at an annual rate of 3.9 percent in the third quarter, better than had been expected.

The drop in the confidence index reflected the mixed mood of the public. A component index tracking consumers' feelings about the current economy rose to 95.2 from 94.0 last month.

But the Expectations Index, reflecting their outlook, fell markedly to 87.4 from 92.2 in October.

The Conference Board's readings are based on responses received through Nov. 16 to a survey mailed to 5,000 households. The figures for October were revised after all the surveys for that month were tabulated.

The report said that consumers' assessment of the current climate varied.

Those saying that jobs are plentiful decreased to 16.8 percent from 17.4 percent, while those claiming jobs are hard to get rose to 28.1 percent from 27.9 percent.

But that was countered by an improvement in views on overall business conditions, with those appraising them as good increasing to 23.0 percent from 21.6 percent. Those who said conditions are bad declined to 20.5 percent from 21.4 percent.

Meanwhile, their appraisal of the future continued to cloud. Those who expect business conditions to worsen in the next six months increased to 11.9 percent from 10.5 percent. The number expecting an improvement declined to 19.3 percent from 20.7 percent.

The number of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead rose to 19.7 percent from 18.3 percent, while those who expect more jobs was essentially unchanged at 16.8 percent.

Stocks were trading lower following the release of the report. In morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 16.85, or 0.2 percent to 10,459.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 index shed 2.66, or 0.2 percent, to 1,175.91. The Nasdaq composite index fell 3.54, or 0.2 percent, to 2,103.33.


Funny thing though, in addition to the snipet I bolded, it was reported that consumer spending was up 5% this month. Obviously not all are pessimistic about the state of the economy. This is also backed up by the Michigan Consumer Survey, which released numbers showing an increase in consumer confidence in November over October.
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Old 11-30-04, 03:32 PM
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consumer confidence is a survey of what people think, not how they are spending
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Old 11-30-04, 03:41 PM
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It's not hard to imagine that 6+ months of the Democrats bad-mouthing the economy would have a negative effect on enough people to make consumer confidence a little lower.
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Old 11-30-04, 04:05 PM
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Energy prices soaring - tomatoes $3.29 per lb. - meat prices going through the roof - milk prices started up again - pathetic Walmart sales report - yeah, the economy is really looking good.

It's so good, I can hardly stand it.

Of course our right-wing friends blame it on the Democrats.

Oh well, what else would one expect from them?
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Old 11-30-04, 04:11 PM
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Hmm, vine-ripened tomatoes at the most expensive store in the area are $2.49/lb here.

I guess that makes up for the high gas price.
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Old 11-30-04, 04:11 PM
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I got skim milk this week for $2.82, three 3-10oz packs of tomatoes for a dollar each pack from a crowded superwalmart.

Can hardly stand it indeed.
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Old 11-30-04, 04:12 PM
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Bush hates tomatoes
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Old 11-30-04, 04:19 PM
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Gas is down to $1.72 a gallon here.
I just bought a gallon of milk for $2.19

and I HATE tomatoes...
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Old 11-30-04, 04:26 PM
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pathetic Walmart sales report
Sounds to me like Walmart shot themselves in the foot on that one

http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/041130/retail_walmart_2.html
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT - News), the No. 1 U.S. retailer, on Tuesday signaled it will cut prices through Christmas after <b>holding back deep discounts on the first weekend of the holiday shopping season.</b>

ADVERTISEMENT
Wal-Mart has cut its November sales forecast, citing low traffic in the last week of the month and disappointing sales on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that is one of the year's biggest for retailers.

The retailer said a "more balanced" approach to discounting than in previous years on that Friday -- called "black" because retailers used to move into profit then -- had dampened sales.
...

[However overall they still aren't looking that bad]
Weber said the company stood by its forecast for fourth-quarter earnings of 73 to 75 cents a share on sales growth of between 2 percent and 4 percent.
Of course our left-wing friends will continue to pick out little things here and there that point to the bad/negative aspects of the economy. Which as I said in the OP I'm sure some exist. However all the major indicators based on hard facts (how people/companies are spending money) not opinions seem to be saying the economy is doing well right now... not great, but "great" (read 90s) is not what we need, continued steady growth (which we seem to have for now) is much better IMHO.

Last edited by nemein; 11-30-04 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 11-30-04, 04:33 PM
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Yes, I heard that other stores being so aggressive with their pricing and Wal-Mart not being is the major cause of this.

Sales overall were up a good amount from last year, over 10% according to preliminary numbers. Maybe everyone was out buying overpriced tomatoes.

I consider it good for this country not to be buying so much from Wal-Mart since they carry an extreme amount of Chinese goods.
Wal-Mart's China inventory to hit US$18b this year
By Jiang Jingjing (China Business Weekly)
Updated: 2004-11-29 15:21

The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, says its inventory of stock produced in China is expected to hit US$18 billion this year, keeping the annual growth rate of over 20 per cent consistent over two years.

The trend is expected to continue, company officials revealed.

"We expect our procurement stock from China to continue to grow at a similar rate in line with Wal-Mart's growth worldwide, if not faster," said Lee Scott, the president and CEO (chief executive officer) of Wal-Mart.

An unnamed company official also stated the firm will extend its procurement base from South China's Pearl River Delta to the North and East China in the coming few years.

A market rumour says the retailer has its eyes on a 340,000-square metre warehouse at a logistics garden of the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Bonded Area.

Scott covertly visited the site earlier this month, and hopes to own the whole warehouse to accommodate the firm's further expansion in China.

At present, Wal-Mart has quite limited warehouse resources in East China.

Xu Jun, Wal-Mart China's director of external affairs, ruled out the rumour, saying the CEO has never visited that or any other site for a warehouse.

Nevertheless, he said China is Wal-Mart's most important supplier in the world. The overseas procurement home office in Shenzhen, a city of South China's Guangdong Province, has played a key role in the firm's global purchasing business.

Wal-Mart shifted its overseas procurement centre from Hong Kong to Shenzhen in February 2002 to better serve the purchasing and exporting business.

"If Wal-Mart were an individual economy, it would rank as China's eighth-biggest trading partner, ahead of Russia, Australia and Canada," Xu said.

By the end of September, 2004, the top seven trading partners to the Chinese mainland are the European Union, the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), South Korea and China's Taiwan Province, state statistics from the Ministry of Commerce.

Last year, the firm bought US$15 billion products from China, half from direct purchasing, the other from the firm's suppliers in China.

More than 5,000 Chinese enterprises have established steady supply alliances with Wal-Mart.

Good quality and low price are the major attractions of the retailing giant.

Insiders point out Wal-Mart's imports from China have largely influenced the US trade deficit in China, which is expected to reach US$150 billion this year.

Xu declined to comment if the anti-dumpling measures of the US Department of Commerce have impacted the firm's procurement of textile commodities and household appliances in China, saying again that China is an important sourcing base for the firm.

So far, more than 70 per cent of the commodities sold in Wal-Mart are made in China.

Experts say Wal-Mart's plan of increasing its procurement from China has granted the firm a positive corporate reputation in the country.

"Buying more products in China means more job opportunities, which helps the firm win not only the government's hearts, but also the customers' appreciations," said Wang Yao, director of information department under the China General Chamber of Commerce.

In the United States, poor people find it possible to afford cheap "Made In China" products for their daily necessities, Wang said.

Wal-Mart, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, entered China in 1996. It has opened 39 stores, including supercenters, "Sam's Clubs" and neighborhood markets in 15 cities around China, including Beijing, Harbin and Dalian.

It has recently announced the opening of its first store in Shanghai, slated for the middle of next year.

The firm has a total of 4,900 stores in 10 countries worldwide.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english...ent_395728.htm
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Old 11-30-04, 04:34 PM
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I heard that Enron went under and now they're throwing rich white chicks like Martha Stewart in prison and we're all gonna die!
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Old 11-30-04, 04:38 PM
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Originally posted by X

Sales overall were up a good amount from last year, over 10% according to preliminary numbers. Maybe everyone was out buying overpriced tomatoes.

http://www.rnews.com/Story_2004.cfm?..._story_type=51
Black Friday Sales Results In
by R News staff
File photo
Published Nov 29, 2004

Black Friday may not have been as "black" as retailers had hoped.

The National Retail Federation reported Americans spent $22.8 billion.

Data from Shoppertrak, which tallies sales results, showed black Friday sales rose nearly 11-percent from last year.

But a cloud hung over Black Friday.

Wal-Mart said its sales last week did not meet expectations.

It lowered its forecast for the month. The company now expects November sales at its U.S. stores open at least a year to rise only seven-tenths of a percent, compared to last Novemberís sales.
I love it... so sales overall are up but because one store (granted it is the largest retailer but still) didn't meet expectations (because they decided not to compete) there is a "cloud over Black Friday"




It seems the I'net version of BF had a significant increase though
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...c_cmp/54201035
More people than ever chose to let their fingers do their holiday shopping. <b>Consumers spent $250 million online on Friday, a 41% increase over the $174 million they spent online on the same day a year ago</b>, according to ComScore Networks, a Reston, Va., company that tracks Web-site activity. For the November-December holiday season, online spending is expected to surpass $15 billion--marking as much as a 26% increase over last year, ComScore said.
[story continues... I didn't read it though ]

Last edited by nemein; 11-30-04 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 11-30-04, 04:40 PM
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Originally posted by nemein
I love it... so sales overall are up but because one store (granted it is the largest retailer but still) didn't meet expectations (because they decided not to compete) there is a "cloud over Black Friday"
Go read the story I posted about Wal-Mart's effect on our trade deficit with China. All is good if Wal-Mart tanks.
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