Call it Black Wednesday in retail.

The crisis engulfing the financial world fused with growing anxiety about consumer spending to produce record-setting losses for retail stocks. Compounding the declines were numerous reports and analyses predicting that retailers, especially those selling apparel, were facing an extraordinarily difficult holiday season. The reports asserted the credit crisis would be especially hard on stores with large franchises in New York, where the lion’s share of financially related job losses are expected to occur in the wake of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch’s sale to Bank of America and other market-altering events.

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