Cotten Timberlake at Bloomberg reports:
With results in from 62 of 122 retail chains, the industry has posted its first profit quarterly drop since the economic contraction that ended in 2009, according to Retail Metrics Inc. Revenue also rose at the lowest rate since that year, the research firm found. The results paint a grim picture of an industry hit hard by the sluggish job recovery and slow wage growth, which have turned U.S. consumers into a nation of penny pinchers. Earnings are expected to drop 6.1 percent on average during the holiday quarter, according to Retail Metrics data.
One suspects that the American consumer has not turned into a bunch of skinflints and that the problem is more one of no jobs, low incomes, and a fear that any extra cash will be needed to pay for Obamacare.
Other than that, the recovery is doing fine.