Retail earnings to show pulse of U.S. consumer

Photo: Wilfredo Lee, AP  

Photo: Wilfredo Lee, AP  

By Adam Shell | USA Today

NEW YORK — Last week, Wal-Mart, the nation's biggest retailer, told Wall Street it didn't think it would ring up as many sales and make as much money in the latter half of 2013 than it had originally expected. 

Wall Street took the news badly, chopping more than 225 points off the Dow Jones industrial average on Thursday.

Wall Street is wondering if the fallout from the earnings warning, dubbed the "Wal-Mart Effect," will spread to other U.S. retailers.

A slew of retail earnings reports out this week, starting Tuesday with beleaguered department store chain J.C. Penney, home improvement giant Home Depot and gadget retailer Best Buy, will give investors a good idea as to whether consumers are still opening their wallets and spending.

J.C. Penney is a mess, though, thanks to a recent boardroom brawl and a turnaround plan still in its infancy stage. So don't read too much into their report, which analysts expect to be bleak, with a loss of $1.06 a share.

Home Depot, however, could shed light on how rising interest rates are affecting consumers' purchases of home-related goods.

Similarly, rival Lowe's reports earnings Wednesday as well. Analysts expect both companies to boost earnings roughly 20% vs. the same period a year ago.

Investors will also be watching what CEOs say this week about the back-to-school selling season. Key stocks: Target, which reports Wednesday, and apparel sellers Abercrombie & Fitch and Gap, which report Thursday.



Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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