Missouri Retail Association Warns of "Fiscal Cliff" Impact

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MISSOURI - As the shopping weekend wraps up, the Missouri Retail Association cautions that uncertainty over the so-called fiscal cliff debate in Washington could lead to a dip in consumer confidence this holiday season.

According to the Missouri Retail Association, the state followed the national Black Friday weekend results, which saw an increase of about 13 percent in sales.

The organization's president, David Overfelt, says Congress needs to find a "long term solution."

"People need certainty. Retailers need certainty. Regardless of they're independent or large, if they're going to make capitol investments or hire new employees, they need to know where we're going to be tax-wise," said Overfelt. 

But this strong start to the holiday season may not last, says the group, should Congress reach a deal to keep the tax increases and spending cuts from kicking in which are set to occur automatically in January.

The White House projects in a report released Monday that falling off the so-called fiscal cliff could cut consumer spending by $200 billion and slow growth by 1.4 percent.

A news release from the National Retail Federation in response to the White House report notes the uncertainty consumers are expected to face should Congress fail to reach a deal.

"[J]ust kicking the can down the road by cherry picking reforms only serves to reinforce the well-placed fears of American consumers and retailers that the status quo will once again rule that day," said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.