Nov. 15 - As the economy edges closer to the fiscal cliff, consumer spending is being closely watched for signs of trouble. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Talking to some Americans you would think there wasn't any real concern about the fiscal cliff- just as consumers gear up to do their holiday shopping. SOUNDBITE: CONSUMER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I should be worried! I'm not worried." SOUNDBITE: TIM, CONSUMER, (ENGLISH) SAYING "I think some people are going to outspend their limit as they do every year" The Conference Board's Lynn Franco is not surprised by the lack of concern. SOUNDBITE: LYNN FRANCO, DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC INDICATORS, THE CONFERENCE BOARD (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think maybe part of it is a little bit of lack of understanding. Also, it hasn't been forefront in the news. Plus there is still time. So I think there is some optimism that there will be some sort of a resolution." But Franco says businesses that cater to consumers are adjusting their strategies- getting more aggressive with promotions in case consumers pull back as the reality of the fiscal cliff sets in. SOUNDBITE: LYNN FRANCO, DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC INDICATORS, THE CONFERENCE BOARD (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Well, we've already seen some of that. There already is some apprehension as to what consumers are going to spend. So we are already seeing the deals at the forefront. So consumers are, I think, are gearing up to spend a little bit I think retailers are also aware of this. I don't think the real impact of the fiscal cliff will be felt until Q1 as opposed to the holiday season." But the National Retail Federation points to new data showing a shift may be starting already. Senior Vice President David French: SOUNDBITE: DAVID FRENCH, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There is some recent data that I saw this morning from BIGresearch that suggests that 42 percent of consumers are pulling back on their spending because of the uncertainty. And just Thursday a new Gallup poll found 71 percent of Americans are following the news about the fiscal cliff very closely or somewhat closely.