NRF Urges President to Act Now on Fiscal Cliff

Nov 15, 2012 11:56 PM  By

The National Retail Federation is urging President Barack Obama and Congress to fix the impending fiscal cliff before Thanksgiving fearing that tax hikes and spending cuts will affect consumer confidence for the holiday shopping season.

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The appeal coincides with a NRF Black Friday shopping survey that preliminarily is predicting a decline in the amount of people who will shop over the late November holiday weekend.

“Although most economists have focused on the impact to the economy in 2013, more immediate economic consequences could occur over the next few weeks if consumers lose confidence in the ability of policymakers to work together to solve tough problems,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay wrote in a letter to the president.

Consumers might already be showing signs of concern, especially after the NRF preliminary survey results found that 147 million people plan to shop over the Black Friday weekend, that number is down from 152 million in 2011.

“Any disruption to consumer confidence and spending during this season could prompt a crisis for retailers and the millions of U.S. jobs the industry supports,” Shay wrote.

Although the NRF preliminary survey results found that there could be a slight dip in consumer activity over the Black Friday weekend, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that both Gallup and the University of Michigan polls show consumer confidence has hit its highest level since the recession in 2008. The newspaper states that consumer confidence is in large part due to an improvement in job growth, the housing market, and debt pay downs.

In University of Michigan poll taken in October, the school’s Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, said “The very positive expectations of consumers stand in sharp contrast to growing concerns expressed by investors and companies about the impending fiscal cliff as well as the impact of a slowing global economy.”

Erin Lynch is the associate editor at Multichannel Merchant. Erin can be reached at 203-358-3755 or by emailing her at erin@multichannelmerchant.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at @LynchMCM or on LinkedIn.