Consumer attitude toward economy remains grim

Despite potential signs of economic improvement, consumer attitudes toward the economy were poor in March, which could have an impact on retailers across the country. 

With weakening sentiment toward the economy, Americans may be less likely to spend money at retail stores, which could hurt cash flows. In these situations, small- to medium-sized businesses can struggle to obtain a loan from a bank, but there are other options, such as inventory financing

According to Fannie Mae's March 2013 National Housing Survey, 35 percent of respondents said the economy is on the right track, which is a three percentage point drop from February. 

Meanwhile, the share of respondents who said their personal situations will get worse in the next year jumped to 21 percent. More consumers also said their household expenses were significantly higher and fewer said they had more income. 

Another negative sign for the future came in the form of the poor jobs report, which revealed the economy added just 88,000 jobs in March. 

"People were starting to believe the economy was really picking up steam, and desperately wanted this report to be better," Joshua Shapiro, chief economist at MFR Inc told the New York Times. "But that didn't happen."

As consumers begin to have a more negative outlook on the economy, they might begin to save instead of spend. With that said, retailers could take a hit, slowing cash flows and reducing available capital. 

While these two factors can lessen the chances of obtaining a loan from a bank, businesses in a lull could still qualify for inventory financing. This type of asset-based lending allows small- to medium-sized retailers to use current inventory as collateral to receive a revolving line of credit, which can be beneficial in times when cash flow isn't as high as usual.