Business, Economics and Jobs

The new thriftiness in America

Consumer spending dropped by one percent in October, the biggest decrease since 2001 -- this isn't what retailers want to hear right now. After a day of thanksgiving, the holiday shopping season kicks off on Friday, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year. Retailers count on weeks ahead to bring in one-third of their annual sales.

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What are retailers doing to bring shoppers in? Are Americans re-thinking their consumer habits in the midst of economic hard times? Will more people be drawn to the simple lifestyle movement? What shifts does that signal for an economy that depends on consumer spending?

Candace Corlett, President of WSL Strategic Retail says retailers have been especially creative this year to get buyers to spend -- Staples, for instance is offering money off a new item when customers bring in used items in an attempt to hit green-conscious consumers' soft spots.

Vicky Robin, Co-author, "Your Money of Your Life, says: "Even though we might hope that happy times are here again ... we're trying to not go from shock back into trance -- it's not like we're looking forward to a time when we can go back to the spending spree ..."

- Candace Corlett: President, WSL Strategic Retail
- Jeff Casler: Owner, Second Time Around
- Justin Greeves: Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Research, Harris Interactive
- Vicky Robin: Co-author, "Your Money of Your Life"
- Daniel Gross: Columnist, "Newsweek" and "Slate"

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