Slow Retail Growth Brings Down Prices

Frosty fall sales have affected even high-end stores
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2007 6:45 AM CDT
Shoppers load their purchases into their cars outside a Target store at the Kingston Mall in Kingston, Mass., in this June 13, 2007 file photo. Lingering summer weather and an uncertain economy kept consumers...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Dismal September sales figures—with just 1.7% growth, the weakest in five years—are prompting the nation's big retail chains to offer big markdowns in the coming weeks. More than a dozen US chains have fallen short of their third-quarter sales forecasts, reports the New York Times, and all that unsold merchandise is taking up valuable holiday-shopping shelf space.

The sales stagnation could be attributable to the continuing credit crunch, the weak housing market, and an unseasonably warm fall. A comparatively strong season last year could be another culprit, but the fact that even high-end chains—which have been immune to swings in the housing and stock markets—are struggling has taken analysts by surprise.