Retailers wave the warning flags
Wal-Mart says its shoppers are concerned about their finances; Nordstrom, one of the better-performing retailers, warns on its third quarter and misses sales forecast.
NEW YORK -- A slew of earnings warnings from retailers Thursday, on top of poor September sales numbers, added credence to concerns that consumers are feeling tapped out and that retailers are headed for a difficult holiday period.
"Retailers really struggled last month because of slow sales and also because of the warm weather drag," said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics.
High-end seller Nordstrom, which has been one of the best-performing retailers, said Thursday that sales at its stores open at least a year - a key measure of retail performance known as same-store sales - rose 3.2 percent, missing analysts' forecasts for a 5 percent increase.
What's more, the retailer cut its third-quarter profit guidance to between 50 and 53 cents a share, much lower than its prior outlook of 61 to 64 cents a share.
Nordstrom said it struggled with much higher inventory levels it had planned for, a possible sign that its shoppers bought less.