Blog: Cautious consumers
Leonie Barrie | 10 March 2008
One word seems to sum up US consumer sentiment just now: cautious. Shoppers tentatively returned to the stores in February, offering a bit of a reprieve for the nation's retailers, with discounters like Wal-Mart Stores and Target perhaps not surprisingly among the biggest winners.
But the weakest performers reporting their February sales results last Thursday included apparel stores such as Gap, Limited Brands and JC Penney, Wet Seal and Zumiez. Consumers, it seems, are focusing instead on necessities such as groceries and health products.
February might be one of the smallest months in terms of sales for retailers, but it marks the start of the all-important spring season. And historically, an early Easter doesn’t bode well for sales of warm weather clothes. Given the current climate, the consensus seems to be that the next few months are likely to be particularly challenging too.
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