THE ECONOMY: The Old-Fashioned Way

On the edge of a Christmas buying season which had been expected to break all records, U.S. retailers last week broke forth in a rash of unseasonal clearance sales. Reason: for three weeks in a row, their dollar volume had fallen below the level of a year ago. To step it up, they marked down prices and bulged the newspapers with ads of eye-popping bargains.

Retailers' worries were the customers' delights. In Cleveland, a $25 Thanksgiving dinner for eight was thrown in with every refrigerator bought from Sears, Roebuck & Co. In Chicago, washing machines were offered at $50 below...

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