Retailers trying to gauge consumer mood for holidays

Planning for the holiday shopping season should be interesting this year for local Washington state retailers.

In recent weeks Whatcom County business owners have been busy attending gift shows and other events, placing orders with suppliers to stock their shelves for the holidays. It's often a challenge, especially for small-business owners, who have to commit thousands of dollars to merchandise they might not sell in the four- to eight-week holiday season.

Last year at this time, business owners who were placing orders had no idea a financial meltdown was about to take place in the stock market, or that a huge snowstorm would wallop Whatcom County a week before Christmas, ruining the traditional last-minute shopping rush.

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