Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.
Consumers choose homes and cars over routine items
Okay, retail sales were up in today's reports, beating expectations, but here's the rub: to do that, retailers had to offer deep discounts in August. That doesn't bode well for profit margins. Among the problems: consumers seem to be ramping up purchases of big-ticket items like homes and cars, but to do that are skimping on clothes and other retail items. At Costco, for instance, same-store sales rose 4 percent, propelled by gains for the most inexpensive items like health and beauty aids, while more expensive "typical" buys like electronics were weak.
"That was emblematic of just the lack of demand for back-to-school."— Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, on discounting efforts by retailers.