NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Retail industry watchers say the capture of Saddam Hussein is a "gigantic non-event" for the holiday shopping season -- and they seem more concerned about the impact of a second straight weekend of snow in the Northeast.
Despite person-on-the-street comments cheering the capture of the former Iraqi leader by U.S. forces, analysts say it won't translate to the kind of increased consumer confidence that creates long checkout lines.
"His capture is extremely meaningful for Iraq and the Arab world, but as far as the U.S. consumer is concerned, it doesn't mean much," said Kurt Barnard, president of Barnard's Retail Consulting.
"Main Street is concerned about one four letter word -- jobs," Barnard said. "If I didn't have a job last Friday, and I still don't have a job today, Saddam's capture doesn't mean anything to me."
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Surprisingly, even the National Retail Federation (NRF), the industry's largest trade group, downplayed the relevance of the event to consumer spending.
"Saddam's capture could provide a psychological boost to consumers who have been distracted by geopolitical uncertainly. However, in the short term it will have a negligible impact on spending trends," said Scott Krugman, spokesman for the NRF. He added that he also thinks a stronger labor market is what will get people to shop more confidently.
But one observer saw a positive for the industry. "I think high-end retail sales will get a boost from this news," said Bill Dreher, analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities.
Industry watchers on average are viewing the holiday season with caution. The consensus among analysts is that holiday spending during November and December this year will be solid, if not spectacular, averaging 4 percent growth. That's still better than the anemic 2.2 percent growth for the same period last year.
Retailers can post half or more of their annual sales and profits during the eight-week period.
Meanwhile, snow blanketed the populous Northeast for a second straight holiday shopping weekend, and that is causing concern among some observers.
"We suspect the storm again hurt sales in the region," said Michael Niemira, senior retail economist with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. "Even though this storm was a little more concentrated than last week's storm, it did cut into demand. It will be important to see if that demand is shifted to this week and to next weekend."