March comparable-store sales may have outpaced analysts’ estimates, retailers still find themselves in a precarious position as spring selling gets underway and fall orders are placed.AND OBAMA'S ANTI-DRILL/ANTI-COAL POLICIES MEAN THERE'S NO END IN SIGHT FOR RISING gas PRICES.
The hope is that job growth will continue to be strong enough to fuel consumer spending, but that bullish sentiment assumes the turmoil in the Middle East, the debt troubles in Europe and the nuclear fallout in Japan don’t worsen and somehow upset the economic recovery.
“Rising gas prices and food prices are really hammering the bottom, probably 80 percent of wage earners,” said Charles McMillion, chief economist at MBG Information Services. “[Consumers] have to buy gas to get to work and they have to buy food, so that means other things get put off,” he said.
(MORE ON WHAT'S DRIVING UP FOOD PRICES HERE.)