Saddam Claus

Dec 15, 2003

By George Anderson

They both wear long beards, but there was no mistaking the photos of Saddam Hussein, the disheveled former dictator of Iraq captured by US troops this weekend, for Santa Claus.

The capture of Saddam had some wondering, however, whether his being in custody would give a Santa-like boost to the spirits and spending of consumers as the days to Christmas
tick down.

Ellen Tolley, a spokesperson for the National Retail Federation (NRF), was among those expecting positive developments. “Ultimately, in the long run, this is going to put people
in better spirits, and we are definitely excited that this has come during the holiday season,” she said.

C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group agreed, telling the Associated Press Saddam’s capture would lead to “into bigger sales.”

Not all were quite so optimistic. Colleen Briggs, a consumer from the Tampa, Fla. area said, “that remains to be seen.”

Moderator’s Comment: Will the capture of Saddam Hussein have an impact on consumer spending and retail store sales?

For those who hoped the bad news from Iraq would be over with the capture of Saddam Hussein comes the reality check of a suicide car bombing that killed
eight Iraqi police earlier today.

The capture of Saddam is significant but, once the euphoria wears off (it already has in Baghdad), Americans are going to be left with the same questions
as before.

Saddam Hussein in custody might help give the stock market a temporary boost but it will have a zero net affect on consumer spending for the holidays.
Anderson – Moderator

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