Monday, November 16, 2015

Signs of Retail Distress

Some sobering news as we head into the holiday shopping season: This earnings season was a brutal one for some of America's biggest retailers. Big department stores Nordstrom and Kohl's were down 15 percent and 6 percent, respectively, making them some of the biggest decliners in the S&P 500 Friday.

After Nordstrom reported its third-quarter results on Friday, its shares lost a fifth of their value before bouncing back somewhat. For the third quarter, Nordstrom reported a slowdown across all categories, regions and channels, including online, at both its full-priced department stores and its off-priced Rack locations.

Is there a reason for the slowdown? Analysts think that consumer spending habits may be shifting, with buyers moving away from smaller expenditures but still willing to spend on big-ticket items like cars and smartphones. We'll see how that affects the holiday shopping season; Black Friday is less than two weeks away.

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