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Local Retailers See Bah Humbug Holiday

Downtown Dallas Inc

By BJ Austin, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Downtown Dallas kicks off its annual City Lights festival two weeks before Thanksgiving. Main Street, from Pegasus Plaza to Ervay, will light up with holiday decorations, as restaurants and retailers begin extended hours. But KERA's BJ Austin reports the "lights" strung along the street may be the only bright spot in the holiday retail season.

It may bot be a very happy holiday for the flagship Neiman Marcus store on Main Street. Sales, group-wide, are off more than 25 percent. Plano-based J.C. Penney reported its third quarter profits fell 53 percent. University of North Texas economist Dr. Bernard Weinstein says the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with a diversified jobs-base and relatively stable housing market, is going to weather the recession better than most, while attracting new businesses and population.

Weinstein: Indeed if you drive around DFW, you'll see a lot of license plates, even now, from states like Illinois and Indiana and Michigan, just like we saw in the late '70s and early '80s. So I think we're going to see another wave of Frost Belt migrants coming here in the near future.

Dr. Weinstein says North Texas has a stable tech sector, healthcare and logistics industries. Vulnerabilities include a possible downturn in Barnett Shale gas drilling and the future of the F-22 Raptor, hanging in the balance in Washington.