City might need miracle on Tejon Street this shopping season

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National and local economists have gloomy predictions for this year’s holiday shopping season.

“I’m predicting that spending will be soft at best,” said local economist Tucker Hart Adams. “Consumers are up to their ears and eyeballs in debt. The only thing that’s going to make them spend a lot this year is some kind of miracle, like credit card companies cancelling their debt.”

And, Adams isn’t alone.

The National Retail Federation says U.S. retailers could be headed for their worst holiday season in five years, with sales projected to rise only 4 percent to $474.5 billion. That would be the slowest gain since 2002 and would fall below a 10-year average rate of 4.8 percent.

Adams said she expects large discount retailers to do well but that small, specialty shops might struggle this year.

Last week, Wal-Mart rolled out discounts on holiday and toy items, and closer to home, the Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership is in the process of planning a number of events to lure shoppers to the city’s small, specialty shops.