Buried in the business wires page on the WaPo today is a piece from AP News about the economy and retail sales. Because I am in a retail related business, as a wholesale supplier of consumer goods to retailers, this piece comes as no surprise to me:
Several of the nation’s largest retailers cut their earnings forecasts Thursday after lingering summer weather and an uncertain economy kept consumers from shopping last month and left the big merchants with disappointing sales.
As the store owners reported September sales figures Thursday, the biggest losers were apparel sellers including Limited Brands Inc. and Gap Inc. Target Corp., J.C. Penney Co., Limited Brands Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. were among those lowering their earnings outlooks.
“Sales are coming in soft, as expected,” said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics LLC, a research company in Swampscott, Mass. “It was a perfect storm, a combination of abnormally warm weather, high food and energy prices, a continued sluggish housing marketing and tight credit.”
With the holiday season fast approaching, many stores will now be “forced to slash prices to get rid of inventory and make room for holiday merchandise that will start to flow into stores this month.”
The news wasn’t encouraging as the holiday season fast approaches. Retailers have been struggling with a sales slowdown for most of the year as shoppers contend with higher food and gasoline prices as well as the still weak housing market.
As I have said here before, I am no economist, but I am a small business owner that has seen a serious drop in sales in recent months that can only be attributed to the bleak BushCo economy. I don’t see this situation improving swiftly and predict that this holiday season we’ll see consumers spending less as they struggle to put food on the table, put fuel in their cars and keep their homes from falling into foreclosure.