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Consumers Slamming Shut Wallets
-- October 9, 2001

Last month, we heard, loud and clear, the sound of consumers slamming shut their wallets in the wake of the September 11th attacks on the US. But had you been listening closely before, you would have heard a rumbling in the distance for months.

For the 23rd week in a row, consumer traffic declined at shopping malls when compared to last year. But the attacks certainly have accelerated the decline. In the weeks following the terrorist attacks, mall traffic slowed to a standstill. Same-store sales for September showed their smallest gain in at least three decades.

And as bad as it is right now, it may get worse. That's because unemployment is growing. The waves of layoffs following the attacks have come faster and have hit harder than a tsunami. Although the unemployment rate for September remained at 4.9%, this figure does not include many of the job cuts stemming from the attacks. Plus, we expect there will be many layoffs yet to come.

Over the next few months, you will hear the reverberations, as the few remaining buyers slam their wallets shut.

related article: U.S. September Same-Store Sales Rose at Slower Pace