With fears that the coming months could be the toughest for them since the 1991 recession, retailers are fighting to gain any edge they can over their rivals. The stores' strategies vary. So do
their prospects for success. Many are redeploying staff and revising promotions; some are putting a new stress on low prices.
Stores are trying to ease their pain from the slowdown in consumer spending by taking care not to stock too little of the latest hot fashion or product--or to showcase it too late. Many stores are working more closely with overseas suppliers to settle quickly on designs and shorten the development process, says Madison Riley, a retail strategist with consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates.
Also, even retailers that try to avoid across-the-board price slashing are embracing the deep discounting trend, which Wal-Mart capitalized on so successfully last fall and holiday season.