Moments ago on the Staples conference call...the CEO says he that he was cautious about the consumer last quarter and now that's progressed to "worried" about the consumer. The retail business is particularly weak in Florida (Tampa, Orlando) and California.
Consumers are buying less and clearly nervous about the future. The company's delivery business is fine but the small business orders are slowing. In other words, this is a consumer slowdown--not a business slowdown. The company is pointing to concern about credit lines and the credit markets with making small businesses buy less. Back to school buying is weaker than last year but that may be due to schools starting later.
More of the conference call to follow.
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