If the recession is indeed waning, nobody told consumers. Retailers of every kind reported lousy sales for the quarter ended Aug. 1, the Wall Street Journal reports. Target’s same-store sales fell 6.2%, Home Depot’s dropped 9.1% and Saks’ plummeted a whopping 15.5%. And with unemployment, stagnant wages, and tight credit squeezing shoppers, executives don’t expect to see improvement until next spring.
Retailers managed to survive the sales dip by slashing inventories and reining in expenses. Investors backed those plays, sending Target shares up 7.6% and Saks’ up 6.9%, even though both reported smaller-than-expected profits. (Read more retail sales stories.)