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Holiday-season retail sales look bleak, Morgan Stanley predicts

Holiday-season retail sales look bleak, Morgan Stanley predicts

Count on coal this Christmas. That's what researchers at Morgan Stanley are saying in the first major forecast of a decidedly dour holiday season. Retailers hoping for a respite from a year of so-so shopping can instead expect the worst Thanksgiving-to-Christmas sales since 2008, the financial services firm said Thursday. Five years ago, the industry was free-falling into recession. This year, a new collection of worrisome economic conditions looms as stores gear up for a period that can sometimes account for 40% of annual revenue. Shopper confidence is low. The recent federal government stalemate and shutdown was a damper. The window for holiday shopping is six days shorter...

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