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2013 Holiday sales off to slow start

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Shoppers were out in full force over the Black Friday weekend, but they were not spending as much money as retailers would have liked.

Compared to last year, early Holiday sales were down.

“A total of 141 million shoppers — 2 million more than last year — hit the stores over the weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. These millions did more browsing than buying, though: Shoppers spent an average of $407.02 over the four-day weekend for an estimated total of $57.4 billion, down roughly 3 percent from last year,” according to NBC News.

There may be several reasons for that. Some shoppers may be waiting for better deals as Christmas Day moves closer. But others simply might not have as much money as they had last year. If it’s a matter of paying the bills and keeping food on the table, or buying Christmas presents, the bills come first.

If this year turns out to be a disappointment to retailers, they may only have themselves to blame. Under-employment and low wages that do not keep up with inflation have become the norm for millions of Americans.

Walmart, had its worst Holiday Season sales in 4 years. The nation’s largest employer has also been widely criticized for paying its employees poverty wages. So if they don’t have any extra money to spend on Christmas presents, it should not be a mathematical enigma.

Other big box retailers are realizing the same problem with slow sales as Walmart. And none of these companies are known for having well-paid employees.

While many corporate business models look to boost profits by cutting workers and wages, there comes a point of diminishing return. 2013 may be the year that marks that turning point.

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