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Although retail sales rose in September for the first time in 13 months -- fueling hopes among some observers that the worst is behind big retailers as they head into the holiday season -- small retailers are much less hopeful, according to a recent study of small businesses released by New York-based American Express OPEN.
Retail owner respondents were the least optimistic about the current business environment among all small-business owner respondents, as well as other industry sectors, according to the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor.
Indeed, given their bleaker outlook, small retail business owners said they’re taking severe measures to deal with the current downturn, such as:
-- 50 percent instituted a hiring freeze, though more than 25 percent have hiring plans
-- 37 percent mandated a salary freeze
-- 33 percent reduced employee hours
-- 36 percent stopped taking salaries altogether
-- 34 percent tapped into their personal assets
-- 21 percent took a second job
-- 40 percent asked family members to work for no pay
The semi-annual Amex OPEN survey covers a broad range of topics and offers segmentation by business owner’s age, industry sector and geographic region.