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Burt Feinberg, Group Head Of CIT Commercial & Industrial (Photo: Business Wire)

As the holiday season draws nearer , more than a third (37%) of middle market retail executives believe their holiday sales will increase over 2011, while 42% believe their sales will increase in 2013. These are some of the findings in the research study “ Taking Stock in Tough Times: U.S. Retail Sector Outlook,” ( cit.com/retailoutlook2012) produced by CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) cit.com, a leading provider of financing to small businesses and middle market companies, in association with Forbes Insights. The study, which was conducted in August and September 2012, analyzes the insights of more than 250 middle market retail executives on the U.S. economy, as well as the opportunities and challenges they are facing.

Burt Feinberg, Group Head of CIT Commercial & Industrial (Photo: Business Wire)

Burt Feinberg, Group Head of CIT Commercial & Industrial (Photo: Business Wire)

“Now a full three years removed from the Great Recession, we’re seeing moderate consumer confidence despite the sluggish economy as evidenced by increased retail sales and decent comps,” said Burt Feinberg, Group Head of CIT Commercial & Industrial. “Although retail executives still have concerns about the overall U.S. economy, they have been optimistic about the upcoming holiday season, however some are now concerned that the impact of ‘Superstorm Sandy’ may cause late delivery of some items by Black Friday. Beyond the holiday season, while the election is settled, uncertainty about tax rates, anxiety with regard to the ‘fiscal cliff’ and an uncertain regulatory climate are prompting a more cautious approach to 2013.”

Mr. Feinberg added, “This year’s survey showed more caution than our past two surveys so perhaps the continued slow growth in GDP, and the stubborn employment numbers, coupled with European economic concerns, are curbing retailers’ enthusiasm. It seems that the sting of the Great Recession still affects the psychology of retail executives and growth initiatives are more focused on maximizing business through technology versus major expansion.”

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