A weak retail sales report for July and an earnings miss by retail giant Macy's has raised fears about the state of the consumer. However, a broad look at several sectors paints a more complex picture.
On Wednesday, the Commerce Department said retail sales, which had increased 0.2 percent in June, were held back by a second straight month of declines in receipts at auto dealers, as well as weak sales of electronics, furniture and appliances.
Also Wednesday, Macy's cut its full-year same store sales forecast to 1.5 percent to 2 percent from 2.5 percent to 3 percent. The retailer said a 3.3 percent rise in second-quarter sales would not make up for weakness in the first quarter, when harsh winter weather kept shoppers away.
Retail analyst Jan Rogers Kniffen, a CNBC contributor and CEO of J. Rogers Kniffen Worldwide said Wednesday on CNBC's "Street Signs" that the Macy's news is "worrying" for retail in general because if it's that tough for Macy's, it's that tough for everybody. He is cautious about what retailers will report for the second quarter.