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Excerpt from our One Page Annotated Wall Street Journal Summary (receive it by email every morning by signing up here):

AHEAD OF THE TAPE: Who's Minding the Register?

  • Summary: The retail sales report will be issued today, and evidence is accumulating of weakness in the sector. Wal-Mart reported weak same store sales in June, William-Sonoma this week lowered its outlook, and Gap announced the departure of the head of its Old Navy division. Employment in the retail sector fell by 54,000 or 0.4% year over year in June according to the Labor Department, and Goldman Sachs economist Jan Hatzius says that year over year declines in retail employment have always coincided with recessions in the past, though this time it may be due to consolidation among department stores. The National Federation of Independent Business and the Conference Board also reported decreased optimism this week. However, retail sales were up 7.6% year over year in May (and 9.1% excluding autos).
  • Comment on related stocks/ETFs: See also the data for June retail sales, William Trent's analysis, and an earnings preview for the retail stocks.
Source: How Healthy Are Retail Sales?