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Just a brief reminder: there have been numerous idiots insisting that the consumer was just fine, and this holiday season was free from problems.

As it turns out, that view is, um, slightly off:

"The retail industry appears to be skidding toward its first big wreck in 17 years.

Chains are slamming the brakes on store openings, cutting back on inventory and girding for leaner times as consumer spending chills. The speed with which sales slowed during the holidays caught even cautious retailers off-guard, prompting a flurry of profit warnings.

And while data on December consumer spending won't be released until the end of the month, plummeting sales suggest consumers are snapping shut their pocketbooks."

Please note who these data-free, reality-challenged, know-nothing money-losing pinheads are. You'll see them spouting the same bullshit next cycle, too. How wrong do you have to be before you get banned from TV?

Retailers Sink Into the Doldrums
January 18, 2008; Page B1