NEW YORK Despite signs that the economy is improving, big store chains don't expect Americans to have much holiday shopping cheer unless they see bold, red signs offering huge discounts. As a result, shoppers likely will see big sales events earlier and more often than in previous holiday seasons.
It's a problem that retailers know all too well. Since the recession began in late 2007, stores have had to offer financially-strapped Americans ever bigger price cuts just to get them into stores. But those discounts eat away at profits. So far, Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl's are among more than two dozen major chains that have lowered their profit outlooks for either the quarter or the year.
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