On January 11, Mark Zandi, chief economist and co-founder of Moody’s Economy.com said at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention and Expo in New York that total U.S. retail sales will grow between 3 and 4% this year. Consumers’ increasing optimism about their financial situation and the future of the American economy could indeed spur consumption. In fact, the percentage of optimists has increased by 29% on average between its lowest point in 2008 and the end of 2009.
However, as a result of retailers’ heavy discounting during harsh economic times, consumers have become increasingly adjusted to shopping on sale. This trend is on the rise even among optimists. The percentage of optimists who say they shop the clearance rack or hold out on buying until things go on sale has risen a relative 10% between early 2008 and late 2009, a trend that will continue to pose a challenge to retailers trying to recover.