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A Look at What's in Store for Business and Workers : It won't be dull, that's for sure. The new year will see dramatic changes for U.S. industry and the American worker. Business writers at The Times polled experts on what is likely to happen in 1989. Here is their report. : RETAILING

January 02, 1989|MARTHA GROVES

Shoppers can look forward to some bargains in the coming year. That's because retailers, after a spate of buyouts and mergers, are loaded with debt and must focus on short-term cash flow.

The industry's consolidation is expected to continue apace in 1989, with more linkups between real estate developers and merchants, similar to last year's epic joining of Toronto development firm Campeau Corp. and Federated Department Stores. Mergers and store closings, with resultant loss of jobs, can be expected particularly in areas such as Denver and Houston that are still afflicted by oil-related woes.

At stores that are trying to boost profit margins such as Bullock's (now owned by R. H. Macy & Co.) and Robinson's (a May Department Stores division), more development of private label merchandise will be seen.

Theoretically, pent-up demand should lead to a modest rebound in the women's clothing business, which has been in the doldrums for well over a year. (However, any improvement there would be offset by weakness in hard goods.) The return to classic, feminine fashions bodes well for accessories.

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