April Was Cruel

America’s retailers are sucking wind.

Some of the nation’s largest retailers reported weak same-store sales in April, adding fuel to concerns that retail spending could face a longer-term slowdown if economic woes continue to weigh on consumers.

The weakness cut across a wide swath of retailers, with everyone from discounters like Target and Wal-Mart to department stores such as Macy’s and Kohl’s reporting disappointing results for the four-week period ended May 5.

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Wal-Mart said same-store sales for its U.S. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores fell 3.5 percent for the April period, and it also provided a relatively soft outlook for its U.S. stores for the current month.

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Target, meanwhile, said sales in April fell 6.1 percent, but the company told investors it was still on track to meet its overall financial goals for the year.

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Department stores that appeal to middle-income shoppers weren’t immune from the April doldrums, but some more upscale clothing retailers fared better. Davidowitz noted that, despite the many pressures on middle- and low-income shoppers, factors such as the stock market and Bush administration tax cuts continue to benefit wealthy consumers.

Saks Inc. said same-store sales rose 11.7 percent in April, citing strength in areas such as designer sportswear and handbags.

On the other hand, Federated Department Stores Inc., parent to Macy’s, said same-store sales fell 2.2 percent, compared with a forecast that had called for sales to rise slightly during the period. The company also said same-store sales for May are expected to be flat or down 2 percent.

Kohl’s Corp. said same-store sales fell 10.5 percent for the April period, due to the expected shift in Easter sales and other factors.

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More specialized retailers also were hard-hit. Clothing retailer Gap Inc. continued to struggle, reporting a 16 percent drop in comparable-store sales for April. Abercrombie & Fitch said same-store sales fell 15 percent for the period.

2 thoughts on “April Was Cruel

  1. pansypoo says:

    if i hadn’t NEEDED to upgrade, i wouldn’t buy anything during georgie.

  2. The rich are still shopping. Many others have little money to shop, except for necessities.

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