Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

3 of 7
BACKNEXT
Retail sales
Retail sales have been showing signs of life in recent months. The government's seasonally adjusted retail sales reading, excluding autos, has risen in five of the last six months. Still, the National Retail Federation is forecasting that sales during the all important holiday shopping season will be down 1% from a year ago.

A better than expected Christmas season would do a lot to lift worries hanging over the economy. But with credit tight, unemployment high and consumers who have jobs saving more, some worry retail sales will disappoint. That could cause additional problems for retailers and companies that make the products they sell.

Since consumer spending accounts for about 70% of the nation's economic activity, healthy retail sales are the key to a strong rebound. "If consumers get unexpectedly scared of buying at Christmas, we could go back into recession," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's.

NEXT: Oil

Last updated November 16 2009: 12:08 PM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
Brexit voices: In or out? CNNMoney speaks to British people to find out their views ahead of the referendum on EU membership. More
10 key facts about the U.S. economy Unemployment is down, gas is cheap and America is growing. But just how strong is it? More
10 best investing apps (and sites) Investing should be cheap, effective and easy. These products simplify your financial life. More

Special Offer