Retailers hope to find momentum in October sales numbers

Retailers marching off to the trenches on Black Friday can take heart: It looks like October's sales results will be a little better than expected. But the industry shouldn't let its guard down yet because this recovery is still pretty fragile.

Most major national retailers will report October sales numbers Thursday, and they expect to post gains over last year's sales. That's not a major accomplishment, since those gains are compared to the free-fall that we saw last October. Further, consumer confidence figures remain low and unemployment rates high. As anyone who reads the comments on this site can tell, consumers are still not ready to spend freely, no matter how many economists call the end to this recession.