Retailers, including industry leader Wal-Mart Stores
As merchants reported their June sales results Thursday, disappointments cut across many segments of the industry including Macy's, AnnTaylor Storesand trendy apparel chain Bebe Stores. But there were notable exceptions, such as Wal-Mart Stores, whose renewed emphasis on low prices helped drive sales gains above analysts' expectations.
"Retail sales are generally soft as we expected. Consumers look like they are holding back on discretionary purchases particularly in apparel," said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics LLC, a research company in Swampscott, Mass.
He added that shoppers are "facing a long list of headwinds as they head into the rest of the summer."
According to Thomson Financial's latest sales tally, 12 retailers beat results, while 16 merchants missed projections. The sales tally is based on same-store sales, or business at stores open at least a year. They are the industry standard for measuring a retailer's health.