sealPurdue News

March 19, 2003

Consumer expert: War could boost retail sales

Should the United States go to war in Iraq, the sagging economy could get a lift from consumers if the military effort goes well, says the director of Purdue University's Retail Institute.

"The uncertainty about the war in Iraq has lowered consumer confidence and has hurt the stock market," says Richard A. Feinberg, professor of consumer sciences and retailing. "Rising gasoline prices have hurt consumer discretionary retail and restaurant spending and have a direct effect on the number of trips consumers make to malls and stores."

A swift and successful conclusion to the war in Iraq may lead to increased consumer confidence that will result in sales bouncing back, Feinberg says. That would be good news for retailers heading into the spring and summer sales periods, particularly in light of a disappointing Christmas season.

"The consumer has been in a rut," he says. "Success in Iraq may be just the medicine consumers and retailers are looking for – at least in the short term."

CONTACT: Feinberg,(765) 491-5583,