Furniture Trade Fair Opens Under Economic Cloud

Sales figures say shoppers are holding down spending on big-tickets items like furniture as their worries about the economy increase.

The threat of recession and tighter spending will be on the minds of residential furniture makers and retailers when they open the industry's major trade show in North Carolina on Monday.

About 85,000 insiders usually descend on the week long High Point Market twice a year. The gathering will face one of the worst business environments for the furniture industry in decades.

The Commerce Department says sales at furniture stores fell by 2.3 percent in September, nearly twice the sharp 1.2 percent dip for all retail stores.

The data was from before sliding stock markets put further jitters into the hearts of shoppers.

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