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Consumer Set To Retreat In New Year?

Source: Getty Images

Clear the racks! Consumers could be poised for a retreat.

That's according to a new study that is expected to be officially released tomorrow by WSL Strategic Retail, a retail marketing and consulting firm.

"It's very possible the consumer will retreat in January and we've been talking about this," said WSL CEO Wendy Liebmann. "Our data indicates that most people don't believe their personal finances will get better for another three years."

She also said the disappointing jobs report raises caution in people's minds that tough economic conditions are not over. November non-farm payrolls inched up by 39,000 and the unemployment report rose two-tenths of a percent to 9.8 percent. The Street was expecting a gain of 140,000 in non-farm payrolls and an unchanged unemployment rate.

PNC Financial Services Chief Economist Stu Hoffman said has not changed his consumer spending outlook despite the weaker employment report.

"Disappointing jobs report, but the trend of moderate gains in jobs-income are intact and retailers comp store sales beat street expectations," he said.

Due to the good correlation between what the stock market does between Labor Day and the holidays, Hoffman said consumers will keep spending this season. He is predicting the consumers will retain their composure—staying cool, calm and collected into 2011.

"Consumers are finding jobs and feeling more confident, " Hoffman said. "They will spend more... even if there is a bit of a hangover effect in the first two months of the year."

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Stephanie is Squawk Box producer and senior NetNet retail correspondent. Follow her on twitter @StephLandsman

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