It Was A Gloomy June For Many Retailers' Sales

The summer is not looking very sunny for retails who market to the middle class. Upper and lower end stores are doing better. Retail experts said lousy weather was one factor in the lower than expected sales increase.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a retail's lousy summer.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: It's been sunny in much of the country, but inside many stores, the attitude is gloomy - or at least it was during the month of June. The latest sales figures are in, and they show many consumers were not in a buying mood last month. NPR's Wade Goodwyn has more.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: If your store catered to the rich or your store catered to the poor or working class, you made out okay. It was the middle class who clutched their credit cards in their tight, little fists, refusing to let go. Retail experts said that lousy weather was one factor in the lower-than-expected sales figures. But, to coin a phrase, it's consumer uncertainty, stupid, that continues to plague the nation's retailers. Luxury stores like Nordstrom's tended to do well. Nordstrom's posted an 8.1 percent rise in sales, far outpacing the 4.7 percent increase expected. Discounters like Ross also fared nicely, Ross reporting a 7 percent increase.

On the other hand, Macy's and Kohl's disappointed, with Kohl's reporting a 4.2 percent drop in sales. Specialty stores did better, however. Bath and Body Works and Victoria's Secret posted very strong, 7 percent increases. With the important back-to-school season on deck, retailers are unsettled. If consumers demonstrate they're ready to spend, the summer might be saved. Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.