The Straits Times
Published on Dec 23, 2012

Modest discounts, fiscal cliff deter last-minute shoppers


NEW YORK (REUTERS) - US retailers may not see a sales surge this weekend as ho-hum discounts and fears about imminent tax hikes and cuts in government spending give Americans fewer reasons to open their wallets in the last few days before Christmas.

The acrimonious debate in Washington over how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff is one of a number of concerns weighing on shoppers, experts said, as consumers head to malls on the last Saturday ahead of the holiday - typically one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

"I don't think we're going to get a great pickup in the last few days here," said Mr Ron Friedman, retail practice leader at consulting firm Marcum, explaining how the uncertainty related to the "cliff" was weighing on American minds.

Some shoppers agreed.