retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that both Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. reported results and projections suggesting that consumer confidence is waning, affected by concerns about the economy and job security, and worries about national security and a possible war with Iraq.

Wal-Mart said that same-store sales during September would grow between three and four percent, as opposed to the four-to-six percent that had been projected at the beginning of the month.

Target said that its September same-store sales would show an increase of less than last year’s 0.2 percent hike, as opposed to the three-to-five percent increase that had been expected.

Adding to the economic woes is a lockout of West Coast dockworkers who handle more than half of US trade coming through 29 ports; it had been expected that the lockout would end yesterday, but things got worse instead of better.

Now that the back-to-school season, the second busiest of the year, has largely been a disappointment, retailers now are focused on the upcoming holidays. While it is too early to make predictions, analysts are concerned that it could be a “washout,” further pulling down the economy.
KC's View:
This will get worse before it gets better. There are just too many wild cards in the deck to make anything a sure bet these days.