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The business road ahead
ALTHOUGH CONSUMER sentiment is at its strongest level for many years, retailers who bank on good holiday sales as a result should be careful.
"Strong sentiment is a great start, but if you are a retailer, it doesn't guarantee a record season," warns Rod Sides, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP, a U.S. retail and distribution leader. He was commenting on Deloitte's 33rd annual "Holiday Survey" of consumer spending intentions and trends.
The challenge is that most respondents to the survey are uncertain what they'll buy and where they'll buy it. They will make stops at retail stores as well as online stores to make their decisions.
The key, therefore, for retailers is not only to entice consumers to their products, but also to persuade them to buy once they are there.
What is the message, then, for retailers?
HOUSING CONSTRUCTION has stalled in the U.S. That's the finding of the latest LegalShield Housing Index, one of a suite of leading indicators of the economic and financial status of U.S. households and small businesses. Blame shortages in labor supply, rising labor costs and the impact of tariffs on lumber, steel and aluminum, which are putting upward pressure on prices.
At the same time, The LegalShield Real Estate Index suggests existing home sales will slow in the short term due to severe inventory shortages, rising prices and interest rate increases.
"Although the housing market varies from region to region, overall we're not seeing a big rebound occurring any time soon," says Dave Coffey, LegalShield's Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer.
"The Federal Reserve is on track to raise rates for the fourth time this year in December, which will put even more upward pressure on mortgage rates and make home buying even less affordable. Normally we'd expect to see home builders respond by ramping up construction, but it just hasn't materialized."
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