Retail sales were up in September but just barely, according to reports by NPR. A .3% gain fell short of the .5% projections. Shoppers are cautiously entering brick and mortar stores again, but record unemployment leaves little discretionary income and non-necessity purchases are largely being put off. What is normally a banner time of year for retail profits, may be a complicated breaking point for retailers and small businesses.

Marketscale radio hosts Daniel Litwin and Tyler Kern take a broad look at the current state of retail in America. Litwin lays out a cautionary plan for businesses to prepare for the worst-case scenario: government inaction and unpredictable consumers. Kern considers the shoppers with disposable income and how they might behave with it: purchasing products out of need not want.

KEY POINTS:

  • Retail sales were up…but only a mere .3%.
  • Holiday shopping forecasts show gains at half of what they were last year.
  • As record unemployment continues, households can only keep buying if they have the disposable income to do so.