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More Bad News From the Retailing Front

I'm writing from New York City, which may not be representative of "Main St. as a whole. Even so, it is probably representative of what's going on in "big cities," especially on one or both coasts.

Normally, there is a certain amount of discounting after the Christmas (and Hanukkah) holidays, to move merchandise, but this year's discounts seem to be larger than usual. For instance, the "standard" discount is ANOTHER "half off" a FIRST "half off," or 75% in total. This is large compared to the cumulative 60%-70% discounts that prevailed in most previous years. Suits are going for $200 that used to sell for $800. Skirts that originally cost $59.95 are selling for $14.95. (Note the "clipping" of 5 cents off prices to make them one "handle" lower.) Similar things could be said for men's clothes.

What's worse, these low prices are being transferred to SPRING clothing just being put on the shelves. It's as if the stores realize that they have overordered for their spring sales as well, and need to cut prices on "new" merchandise (not just last year's). If that's the case, and it keeps lasting year round, we may be getting into a culture of "everyday low prices." That's not good news for retailers.