Tough Christmas for retailers

RETAILERS should brace for a subdued Christmas shopping season with consumers expecting to have less money to spend in the December quarter.

The number of consumers who expect to have enough money for Christmas spending is down one-quarter from this time last year, credit scoring agency Dun & Bradstreet said, falling from 41 per cent of consumers last year to 31 per cent.

"This does not bode well for key sectors like retail and tourism that are already experiencing an otherwise dismal year," said Dun & Bradstreet chief Christine Christian.

"At this stage it is doubtful whether consumers will deliver as expected this Christmas."

Australia's large retailers have complained about the poor trading conditions in recent months, with established names like JB-HiFi, David Jones and Myer flagging weaker profits. Although retail sales have expanded for two months running, consumer sentiment has been at the mercy of factors as varied as worries for the health of the economy and jitters related to the European sovereign debt crisis. Worries have surfaced about the strength of the jobs market in the months ahead.

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