Retail Sales weak

Everyone seems to be trading down in the shopping lists!

With an uncertain economy, housing bust and high gas prices hanging over their heads, consumers flocked to discount retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy, brandishing bargain-filled fliers.

In a reversal from years past, many bypassed pricier outlets , including such retail powerhouses as Nordstrom, Coach and Abercrombie & Fitch, according to shoppers and retailers interviewed around the country.

In Columbus, Ohio, Theresa Johnson, a 47-year-old social worker, was shopping at the Big Lots discount chain — because she had to, not because she wanted to.

“It’s a little embarrassing, actually — I don’t like to be seen here,” Ms. Johnson said, who planned to buy a 42-knife-set for just $35.

Like thousands of Americans, Ms. Johnson has an adjustable-rate mortgage, and her rising payments have stolen from her holiday spending budget. “Before I shopped at Macy’s and some at J.C. Penney, so shopping at Big Lots is two steps down for me,” she said. “This is going to be a hard Christmas.”

Watch MA (seems to me that stock is forming an island top)

A final tally from Friday’s sales will not be available until Sunday, at the very earliest. MasterCard predicts sales on Black Friday will rise nearly 4 percent this year to just above $20 billion, up from $19.1 billion in 2006.

I predict Flat sales

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