A sign, perhaps, that further public stimulus money is not forthcoming? The New York Times observes that several retailers are essentially devising their own stimulus measures—promotions and deals that they’re hoping will spur customer spending. Sam’s Club is facilitating loans of up to $25,000 for its shoppers; Target is offering 5 percent off to people with a Target credit card; Toys “R” Us has created a holiday-savings fund; and Office Depot and Staples are giving products away. “A lot of the government programs have come to an end,” says one analyst, “So retailers are taking it upon themselves to do everything they can to get the consumer to spend, even opening up their own wallets to give money back to the consumer.” Sam’s Club does not expect to make much money off of its loans, but hopes that they contribute to a general spending thaw.
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