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The answer to this question seems to be “yes,” at least according to some published reports.

The theory is that if the US invades Iraq, fear of retaliation will prompt more and more consumers to want to shop from home, as opposed to going out to crowded shopping centers, stores and malls. That is what happened after the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, and some experts believe the scenario will be repeated.

At the same time, while people’s online time and efforts may increase, it is likely that other areas -- brick-and-mortar unit sales, television advertising, etc… -- will suffer.
KC's View:
The question for retailers will be how to respond to such a scenario without seeming to exploit it.

E-commerce will be a likely beneficiary…assuming, of course, that dirty bombs don’t knock out the electricity. (There must be some concern about that, or the government wouldn’t be suggesting that we all stockpile candles.)

People will want to feel safe, to feel supportive of their country’s efforts, and, we expect, to feel like they can go on with their normal lives as much as possible.

Retailers like supermarkets, drug stores, c-stores and discount stores -- retailers that are very much part of the fabric of our everyday lives -- will have to find ways to give aid and comfort to their customers, in addition to the products they require.