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Why Strong Consumer Spending Isn’t Buoying Retail Companies

October 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Economic metrics related to U.S. consumers – i.e., unemployment, gas prices, stock market, etc. – are all trending positively. So why are the big retail chains, like Target, Abercrombie & Fitch, Dollar Tree, Barnes & Noble, etc., blaming their financial troubles on a dismal retail environment in which consumers aren’t spending? Analysts say consumers are indeed spending, just not as much at increasingly less relevant brick-and-mortar retailers. The facts: online buying is booming, especially at Amazon; there’s been a shift in buying products to buying experiences like travel (that show better on social media sites); and the success of upstart e-commerce brands such as Bonobos (left) or Fabletics.
Matthew Townsend, "The U.S. Retail Environment? It's Doing Just Fine, Thanks", Bloomberg, October 25, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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