NEW YORK — In the financial and consulting communities, industry observers agreed that vendors anticipated the slower sales during the abbreviated holiday shopping season, planned conservatively and positioned themselves well.

That won’t eliminate the possibility of a few bankruptcies and the probability that vendor consolidation will continue and possibly accelerate. Still, there’s a sense of relief that, between prudent planning and the involuntary inventory reduction brought about by the West Coast dock lockout, the poisonous influences of excessive inventory levels were avoided.

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