Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out the latest sales reports, which show that consumers are still cutting back on discretionary spending as they shift to discounters for the basics. Granted, that’s not exactly news anymore, but some of this morning’s sales tell us that even the discounters are starting to feel the heat.
“Sales for the month of May were somewhat below our expectations,” chief executive officer of Target, Greg Steinhafel, said in a statement.
He’s not alone.
Big boxers such as Target and BJ’s Wholesale reported steeper than expected drops in same-store sales, suggesting that the recession may have depended further than the luxury market.
Speaking of which, upscale department stores, such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, saw sales slip while Macy’s fared slightly better than analysts had expected. Abercrombie & Fitch, known for their strong hold on the younger markets saw same-store sales slide 28 percent, worse than the decline analysts had expected. And teen/tween sensation Hot Topic, saw same-store sales fall 6.4 percent which were, again, steeper than analysts had predicted.
With newly frugal shoppers sticking to newly shrunk budgets, Saks posted a quarterly loss that was much steeper than Wall Street expected, and said same-store sales in its fourth quarter fell 15.3 percent.
“During the quarter, the company experienced continued weakness across all geographies, merchandise categories, and channels of distribution,” said Chairman Stephen Sadove.
A downgrade by Goldman Sachs.
Goldman sharply raised its forecast for oil prices in the second half of this year, saying it expects U.S. crude to average $141 a barrel, up from a previous projection of $107. Goldman also forecasts prices will rise further next year to average $148.
That is not good news for retailers.
“Higher energy spending in the second half is likely setting the stage for a more challenging backdrop for consumer discretionary sectors, particularly for the department store stocks,” Goldman noted.