Consumer Crunch Watch: Retail Sales

Only the beginning, I think.

From today’s NYT:

The nation’s big retail chains, a closely watched barometer of economic health, reported dreary December sales on Thursday, which may stoke fears of a recessionary downtown.

Sales fell at chains as varied as Nordstrom, Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters when compared with those in the period a year earlier.

Stores cited a pullback in spending by consumers and a quirk in the calendar that pushed more holiday shopping days into November than December.

The size of the sales declines surprised analysts. Sales fell 11.4 percent at Kohl’s, 7.5 percent at J. C. Penney and 6 percent at Gap.

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