NEW YORK — After limping through a holiday season expected to be theworst in decades, the nation's stores made it to Christmas with littleto celebrate.
For many merchants, the winter and beyond are likely to get evenbleaker, because Americans are too worried about their jobs and therecession to do much shopping.
"We had to take a stepback and reorganize our priorities and realize that it's not all aboutmoney and gifts," said Michelle Leary, 31, a mother of four fromWakefield, Mass. Her husband, an office manager at a constructioncompany, was laid off three weeks ago.
"It made us take a look back and see what was really important to us," Leary said.
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