Is a Macy's earnings miss a warning for retail?

General merchandise tough place to be: Pro

Macy's cut its full-year guidance on Wednesday after delivering quarterly earnings and revenue that fell short of expectations.

Terry Lundgren, Macy's chairman and CEO, described the quarter as "a tough one" for the company, but it could be more indicative of the trouble facing the rest of retail, according to J. Rogers Kniffen WWE CEO Jan Kniffen.

"Personal consumption expenditures are not rising the way they should given the health of the consumer," he told CNBC's "Power Lunch" in an interview. "We are seeing way more go to durables then should be going to durables at this point in the cycle."

As much as 5 percent of normal consumer discretionary spending has shifted away in favor of big-ticket purchases like autos, while deflation in apparel is running at about 3 percent this year "so it's very difficult to make your numbers," Kniffen said.

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Macy's misses, stock hit

Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that JPMorgan downgraded Macy's to a neutral rating, citing a slowing retail backdrop and slowing tourism, according to retail analyst Matthew Boss.

The Macy's downgrade marked the bank's fourth downgrade in the discretionary retail space in just two weeks, but not all retailers might be hit as hard from a tourism slowdown and the strong dollar.

Nordstrom, for example, which reports earnings Thursday, has the potential to buck the lagging retail trend according to Deutsche Bank retail analyst Paul Trussell.

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"We think they have a more unique assortment, and we also acknowledge the fact they have a growing Nordstrom Rack business and a phenomenal e-commerce operation," he told CNBC's "Power Lunch."

For Kniffen, who expects to see a shift back to discretionary spending from durables in the back half of the year, buying retailers after they have been hit like Macy's has could be an appealing strategy.

"I'm not changing my view on that, but it is a hard time right now for discretionary retailers," he said.