Shoppers, enticed by heavy discounts and armed with rebate checks, spent freely in June, helping to lift retailers' sales.
The nation's retailers on Thursday reported a better-than-expected June gain of 4.3 percent, with discounter Wal-Mart accounting for the majority of those increases.
Wholesale club operators BJ's Wholesale Club and Costco were also among the best performers. Some rebate money made its way to clothing stores, like Children's Place, though sales generally remained sluggish at mall-based clothing stores, including Limited Brands and Gap
So, is retail really all that bad? It seems that's a matter of opinion. Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz and Associates says, “Sales would have been lousy without those rebate checks and stocks got what they deserved.”
There’s no denying that consumers are still confronting high gas and food prices, as well as slumping housing market and tighter credit. But Davidowitz seems a little dramatic.