Retailers Take The Offensive

Shoppers are being haunted this Halloween by the ghost of Christmas future. CBS News Correspondent Anthony Mason reports.

It is only October and the ornaments are already out. Sales are already underway. Stores are spreading that Christmas spirit a little further concerned that shoppers this season may be spending less.

Will the goods retailers ordered in the booming economy this summer sit on the shelves in the slowing economy now? In one Dallas warehouse of Pier One Imports the economic troubles in Asia have actually been a Christmas blessing.

"We've had a benefit, in fact. Most of the currencies in Asia are really weak against the dollar. So it gives us a much stronger buying position," says Marvin Girouard, CEO Pier One Imports.

As cheaper goods flood the market shoppers are finding bargains.

Analysts say the retailers won't admit it, but they're worried. Consumer confidence was down for the fourth straight month. September sales were sluggish. Maybe it's just Halloween, but some retailers are spooked about Christmas.

At Crate & Barrel in California, manager Katherine Haliski says their holiday stock is out a week early this year.

"We're anxious and excited about this season. But we're not putting all our eggs in the Christmas basket. We're approaching the season very cautiously," says Haliski.

So it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. This season, retailers are just waiting to see whether the economy will play trick or treat.

Reported By Anthony Mason