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Retailers Could See “Relatively Decent” Holiday Shopping Season

Aired 11/25/11 on KPBS News.

The holiday shopping season starts this week, and California retailers are hoping for strong sales. One economist is projecting a slight jump – about three percent better than last year.

California may have an 11.7 percent unemployment rate. But it’s the eighty-eight percent of people with jobs that could give this holiday shopping season a boost. Chapman University Economist Esmael Adibi said during the recession, Californians were nervous about their jobs and cautious at the store.

“All of us – I mean, we slowed down," said Adibi. "If we needed a suit, we said maybe not now. If we needed a shoe, not now. Or you know, an electronic gadget, maybe.”

But Adibi also said even though it’s not a huge improvement, the economy is bouncing back.

“And now the fact that they hear some good economic news, they basically say, I survived. And then the pent-up demand is kicking in.”

Still, Adibi believes, a jump in gas prices or a nosedive in the stock market could make this year’s holiday season a rough one for retailers.

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