Blog: Leonie BarrieRetailers play all their cards in June

Leonie Barrie | 11 July 2008

Warmer weather and deep discounting in April helped sales of spring and summer fashions, tax rebate cheques provided a boost in May and now, it seems, all three have provided some respite for US retailers in June.

The bad news, however, is that most consumers are still seeking out bargains or basics, as they contend with rising gas and food prices, job uncertainty and the ongoing housing downturn. This, of course, benefits discount retailers such as Target Corp and Wal-Mart Stores – which not only posted a 5.8% rise in same-store sales at its US stores but also lifted its second-quarter earnings forecast.

Some rebate money also trickled through to apparel stores like Children's Place and Cato Corp, but sales at many mall-based apparel specialists, including Limited Brands, Gap and Wet Seal remained slow as shoppers focused on necessities like food and fuel.

With the last of the rebate cheques due to be mailed today (11 July), the focus is now on the back-to-school season – the second-biggest shopping period of the year.

Some respite is expected for retailers in July and August, as the last of the rebate money goes on new school clothes, but after that, “challenging” seems to be the word that best sums up the outlook as we hurtle towards the holiday season.

US: Retailers' June 2008 sales roundup


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