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Can Holiday Bargains Hold Off Bankruptcy?

Op-Heads: a virtual chat on the issues that matter

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Click on the video above to watch BU Professors Ron Curhan (left) and Sucharita Chandran discuss shopping in a recession. Click here to watch the full version.

When the National Bureau of Economic Research officially confirmed on December 1 that the U.S. economy was in a recession, it hardly came as a surprise. Banks have collapsed, jobs have been slashed, hiring is frozen — even major retailers, such as Circuit City, are going bankrupt.

But while many businesses feared the worst on Black Friday, the post-Thanksgiving frenzy that marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, the National Retail Federation reports that 172 million shoppers visited stores or Web sites over the weekend, up from 147 million last year. What does this tell us about American consumers and the future of the economy?

BU Today asked Ron Curhan, a School of Management professor emeritus of marketing, and Sucharita Chandran, an SMG assistant professor of marketing, whether we should be saving our pennies or taking advantage of those sales to stimulate the economy.

Got an issue to debate? E-mail today@bu.edu with “Op-Heads” in the subject line.

Edward Brown can be reached at ebrown@bu.edu.

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