Profits must come through public confidence, and public confidence is given to any merchant in proportion to the service which he gives to the public.
Although consumers' paychecks got a bit lighter this year when the 2 percent payroll tax cut expired, Wall Street analysts see reason to remain bullish on defensive retailers.
J.C. Penney CEO, Ron Johnson, was aware that striking a deal with Martha Stewart would potentially create a conflict with rival Macy's.
J.C. Penney delivered the latest dismal retail news, reporting a much larger-than-expected loss as same-store sales fell 32 percent. Shares skidded after-hours.
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The "Fast Money" Final Trade.
Stocks ended near their best levels Tuesday, recovering from their worst one-day drop in 2013, following Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech and buoyed by a batch of upbeat economic reports.
Stocks are up as Bears are not yet in control of the narrative. There were no surprises from Bernanke, though he did give a rather spirited defense of QE and low interest rates.
Despite smaller paychecks for consumers due to the payroll tax hike, Macy's has been able to offset any potential impact from the increase, one analyst told CNBC.
Retail earnings due out Wednesday will give the market a sense of what's going on among discount shoppers. Wall Street will get the fourth-quarter earnings reports from discounters Target, Dollar Tree and TJX as well as department store JCPenney.
Take a look at some of Tuesday's midday movers:
CNBC's Jim Cramer saw a pattern in the market on Monday -- early buying followed by a late sell-off -- "a reversion to something I hate."
Ben Bernanke's speech and the sequestration: how much of a headwind are they for stocks?
U.S. stock index futures rose across the board following the upbeat S&P/Case-Shiller home price report and a day after the Dow and S&P 500 logged their worst one-day performance in 2013 amid worries about Italy's election result.
Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell Tuesday:
The department store chain reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations as its strategy of tailoring merchandise to local markets paid off during the holiday season.
Macy's Chief Executive Terry Lundgren said he was shocked when Martha Stewart told him in 2011 that she was starting a new alliance with rival J.C. Penney.
Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren is scheduled to testify in New York State Supreme Court on Monday in a trial that pits the department store chain against rival J.C. Penney over a partnership with home diva Martha Stewart.
Washington's budget debate could stir up new anxieties as markets head into March, even with expected reassurances about Fed policy from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in the week ahead. Europe could also come back into play in the coming week, as currency traders are focused on the outcome of the Italian election.
Next week is the biggest one of the earnings season for the retailers. While each will have different nuances, and wrap up the key holiday quarter, Wall Street will be focused on the sales forecast for the current quarter.