NEW YORK (AP) -- A growing consensus among industry watchers, that meager consumer spending over the summer has extended into September, dragged on retail shares Monday.
A warm September depressed shopping for fall clothing, analysts say, and a shift to big-ticket items like cars and housing has sucked up money that in the past had been spent on clothing and the like.
Already, major retailers like Macy's and Wal-Mart have lowered expectations for the year after a slow summer.
The growing pessimism about spending during the critical back-to-school period does not bode well for retailers like the Gap and teen retailers like Buckle, who report monthly comparable-store sales Thursday.
With big shopping periods this year already proving to be a bust, investors have begun to question whether anything will change during the holiday season, which can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales for retailers.
"We expect a material deceleration from August as post back-to-school spending surge was sub-par to non-existent, wrote Adrienne Tennant, an analyst with Janney Capital Markets.
Americans have historically trudged out in a secondary wave of shopping for school clothing, Tennant said, but there is no indication that that has occurred this year.
Tennant anticipates that the fourth-quarter earnings estimates across the teen sector will need to be reduced given the current trends.
That view is spreading.
"With the exception of the very promotional Labor Day weekend, mall traffic has been flat to negative every week since early June," wrote Ike Boruchow, an analyst at Stern, Agee & Leach. Discounts grew even sharper in the last week of September, Boruchow said, with the majority coming from teen stores. In particular, Urban Outfitter's 30 percent off sale was deepened to 50 percent off.
Overall, revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 3.6 percent in August, according to a tally of 10 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers. That's up a tad from July's 3.5 percent gain, but below the 6 percent gain in August last year. The International Council of Shopping Centers said last week it expects the roster of about 10 stores to post an increase of anywhere from 3.0 percent to 4 percent for September.
Here's how some retailers are faring in early afternoon trading:
Kohl's Corp: down 1 percent, or 53 cents, to $51.98:
Macy's Inc.: down more than 2 percent, or 98 cents, to $43.09
J.C. Penney Co: down 4 cents to $7.82
The Gap Inc.: down 1.51 percent, or 62 cents, to $39.89
Nordstrom Inc.: down 48 cents to $56.65.
Target Corp.: down 54 cents to $62.87
Urban Outfitters Inc.: down nearly 3 percent, or $1.01, to $35.95.
- Stocks & Offerings