Retailers, consumers and prices
U.S. retailers reported disappointing sales declines for July, suggesting shoppers are still searching for bargains and basics in the downturn.
July’s results mark the 11th consecutive month of falling sales at stores open for at least one year, a measure known as same-store sales.
Rising unemployment, cool weather and a lack of tax-free holidays like those held last year disheartened shoppers, who bought just daily essentials last month.
Still, some companies like Gap and Macy’s managed to forecast better-than-expected earnings for the quarter, as they managed their expenses better.
Sears Holdings beat Wall Street expectations when it reported earnings this morning, helped by cost cuts, and the market sang its praises by sending shares up 8 percent. The streamlining isn’t over either, as the company controlled by Eddie Lampert announced plans to shutter another 24 stores.
We’re wondering about the exuberance of the market’s response, since the results still show marked same-store sales declines for the company’s Kmart and Sears, Roebuck stores and questions remain about whether the company can pull off a real turnaround in the future.