Monday, August 23, 2004

Yet more evidence that the poor June economic numbers were hardly a temporary "soft patch" in an otherwise robust recovery.
Wal-Mart Stores lowered its August sales forecast on Monday as back-to-school demand failed to meet its expectations and hurricanes in Florida forced it to close 75 stores.

Wal-Mart now expects August sales at U.S. stores open at least a year to be flat to up 2 percent. It had previously forecast a 2 percent to 4 percent increase.
July retail sales were a fair recovery from June's poor numbers, but the bar was set fairly low, after all. If the world's #1 retailer winds up with flat sales for August, we could be looking at a repeat of June and a lot more "soft patch" stories. Surely the rah-rah crowd will try to blame it all on Charley, but the evidence is getting harder to deny.

Slowing . . . slowing . . .

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