Study: Small Retailers Less Hopeful About Economy

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Study: Small Retailers Less Hopeful About Economy

NEW YORK -- Although retail sales rose in September for the first time in 13 months -- fueling hopes among some observers that the worst is behind big retailers as they head into the holiday season -- small retailers are much less hopeful, according to a new study of small businesses released by American Express OPEN.

Retail owner respondents were the least optimistic about the current business environment among all small-business owner respondents, as well as other industry sectors, according to the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor.

Indeed, given their bleaker outlook, small retail business owners said they are taking severe measures to deal with the current downturn, such as:

-- 50 percent instituted a hiring freeze, though more than 25 percent have hiring plans;
-- 37 percent mandated a salary freeze;
-- 33 percent reduced employee hours;
-- 36 percent stopped taking salaries altogether;
-- 34 percent tapped into their personal assets;
-- 21 percent took a second job; and,
-- 40 percent asked family members to work for no pay.

The semi-annual Amex OPEN survey covers a broad range of topics and offers segmentation by business owner's age, industry sector and geographic region.

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