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•  The Conference Board said yesterday that its monthly Consumer Confidence Index "declined moderately in October to 102.6, down from an upwardly revised 104.3 in September. The Present Situation Index - based on consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions - declined to 143.1 from 146.2. The Expectations Index - based on consumers' short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions - fell slightly to 75.6 in October, after declining to 76.4 in September.

"The Expectations index is still below 80 - the level that historically signals a recession within the next year. Consumer fears of an impending recession remain elevated, consistent with the short and shallow economic contraction we anticipate for the first half of 2024."

•  Digital marketing platform Constant Contact is out with a new small business report concluding that "half (50 percent) of all small businesses get more than 25 percent of their annual sales in the holiday season … 75 percent of retail SMBs rely heavily on holiday customers, and 73 percent attribute more than one quarter of their annual sales to the holiday period … 58 percent of retail SMBs say that holiday customers are 'extremely important' to the overall success of their business … the top goals for SMBs heading into the holiday season are finding new customers (63 percent), retaining current customers (52 percent), and planning for next year (45 percent) … 84 percent of consumers surveyed are likely to visit a small business they’ve never purchased from this holiday season … (and) 87 percent of consumers say they are more likely to return to a small business in the future after visiting/buying during the holidays."