RETAIL TRADE: Merchant Grabbers

Despite all the scare buying by consumers, retail inventories are the highest ever. The Commerce Department reported last week that at year's end store stocks stood at a record $16.1 billion v. $13.1 billion in 1949. Since then, merchants have been buying faster than the public.

Atlanta's Rich's Inc.,which usually does not start buying fall goods until May, has already bought up half its supply of wool clothing, blankets and sweaters. San Francisco's huge Emporium is bulging with all the things that are expected to become hard to get—furniture, woolens, metal goods, etc. Said a New York liquor dealer: "There's...

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