Retailing: Opening the Closed Fist

As they readied themselves for this week's traditional onslaught of last-minute shoppers, U.S. retailers were virtually assured of a Christmas sales record —for the 14th year in a row. Although pleased at that prospect, most store own ers are anxiously waiting to see whether the holiday spree will trigger an upsurge in consumer spending in 1 968.

Their common concern, as Atlanta Appliance Dealer J. M. Harper puts it, is that the consumer may have merely "opened his fist temporarily, and after Christmas will close it again."

While 1967 retail sales are expected to wind up 4% ahead of last...

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