Wary Consumers Spell Trouble for Retailers
71% miss projections, worst showing since September of 2000
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2008 4:42 PM CDT
Target reported less-than-stellar sales, thanks in part to shoppers defaulting on store credit cards.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – With the holiday season looming, retailers' only hope may be a genuine Christmas miracle. In reports on last month's business, 71% of retailers missed sales and profits estimates, making it the worst September since data collection began in 2000, MarketWatch reports. Experts widely attributed the dismal numbers to the struggling economy and a dearth of credit, while some stores blamed disastrous weather for low traffic. Only value and off-label stores beat expectations.

“The recent disruptions in the credit and financial markets have had a negative impact on the consumer,” one executive said, explaining his firm’s poor performance. An analyst was clearer: “Consumers are bracing for recession,” he said. The deteriorating economic situation bodes ill for holiday sales, which make up nearly one-fifth of annual totals, the Washington Post reports.