Si-i-lent Bush Boom, Nonexi-i-stent Bush Boom

From Holden:

Everybody sing!

Retail industry analysts are rolling out reports with titles like “Tick, Tick, Tick.” While they said sales would strengthen this week, most predict a lackluster Christmas for retailers.

Sales are expected to quicken in the days before Christmas, Merrill Lynch wrote in a report, though sales at stores open at least a year are likely to rise only 2 percent in November and December over 2003, down from 3.3 percent last year.

This year, analysts, trade groups, and consultants cannot seem to agree on exactly how good – or how bad – this holiday season will be for retailers. More analysts say it will be weak rather than strong.