BUSINESS

Retail giants blame poor economic conditions for falling sales

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GERMANTOWN, Md. (WJLA) - Wal-Mart is just one of many retailers feeling the pinch as Americans cut back on their spending this season.

The reduced spending is being blamed on higher taxes and weak pay, among other things. But the impact could go far beyond the retail giants. 

Dan Corman was shopping Thursday, something he and his wife hadn't done in a long time, but he was looking for ways to save.

“Sales coupons, which we never did before. Between my wife and I we make good money, but it can’t match anymore what’s going on in the economy," Corman says.

With the U.S. economy still struggling to get on its feet, consumers remain cautious. The latest statistics show sales at U.S. stores fell in July, marking the fifth straight month of decline. Retaigiants, Macy’s and Wal-Mart, reported lackluster sales figures. Wal-Mart officials say customers are seeking lower priced items.

Amy Duncan says she is definitely cutting back.

“I know I am because there are sales and I have coupons so I believe people don’t shop as much when there isn’t something going on,” Duncan says.

But in the midst of this dismal news is a ray of hope this week in Maryland. The state’s tax-free shopping week is, according to state officials, bringing consumers back to stores in large numbers.

“Maryland increased their taxes recently from 6 to 5 [percent] so this definitely makes a difference,” says Katelin Clementson.

Signs for tax-free shopping are seen in Maryland stores and malls this week. Sales prove retailers compete for business in this important back-to-school shopping season.

“Some stores will drop [the price] to one cent to beat out the competition,” says Toni Ellis.

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