Gloomy September reports led retailers to lower third-quarter forecasts, the New York Times reported today. With the exception of Wal-Mart—which raised profit forecasts slightly—big chain stores performed below expectations in September. Among the culprits are the credit crunch, warm weather and unflattering comparisons to last September. Even Wal-Mart says, “customers remain concerned about their finances, especially the cost of living.”
Things are unlikely to get rosier before the holiday shopping season, which, the Times reports, might exhibit the slowest growth in five years. The 1.6% increase for stores in September was well below estimates of 2.3%, according a research firm. More than a dozen stores—including Target, Nordstrom, and J.C. Penney—say forecasts will drop.