Retailers, consumers and prices
Check Out Line: Shopping stays in a slump
Check Out the continued pain in the retail industry.
Wal-Mart’s outgoing CEO, Lee Scott, said Monday that he expects the U.S. economy to remain extraordinarily challenging in the first half of the year and does not see anything that would turn it around quickly.
Scott likely wanted to deliver some brighter news in his swan song. He turns over the CEO post to Mike Duke on Feb. 1. However, the tone at the National Retail Federation’s annual conference in New York this week is likely to be bleak.
ShopperTrak predicted that U.S. retail foot traffic will fall 16.4 percent during the first quarter. The group, which monitors customer traffic, expects retail sales to fall 4 percent during the quarter.
Scott’s comments come just days after Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, posted lower-than-expected December sales and cut its fourth-quarter profit forecast, showing it is not immune to the impact of the recession. Other retailers also issued profit warnings last week.
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(Reuters photo of sign at a Fishs Eddy store in New York in December)