Thursday, July 08, 2004

Further confirmation of the creeping slowdown of the US economy.
Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, reported its lowest year-on-year increase in same-store sales, or sales from stores open at least a year, since May 2003, at 2.2 per cent. That was well below consensus analysts' forecasts of 3.6 per cent, according to Thomson First Call. . . .

Target, the number two discount retailer after Wal-Mart, said June same-store sales increased 2.3 per cent, below consensus forecasts of 3.5 per cent.

Other big retailers including Sears Roebuck, Federated, the owner of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, Costco and Gap all reported sales below forecasts. At Gap, sales fell 2 per cent, below forecasts of a 4.1 per cent rise. But department store group JC Penney matched expectations, and Neiman Marcus and Saks beat forecasts, as higher-end retailers generally continued to outperform lower-end chains.
4.9% growth in the second quarter my a**.

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