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Nov 6, 2008
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Retail execs' views on tough sales

By
Reuters
Published
Nov 6, 2008

Many top U.S. retailers posted disappointing monthly sales on Thursday and some lowered their quarterly forecasts as a global financial crisis spurred consumers to clamp down even more on household budgets.



With holiday season sales just a few weeks away, retail executives described in company statements and on conference calls just how hard it is to woo shoppers.

JERRY THROGMARTIN, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, HHGREGG INC

"Macroeconomic trends presented stiff headwinds during our second fiscal quarter ... Similar to other retailers, our customer traffic has worsened since the middle of September. To be clear, this trend has not been steady. It has been marked by significant volatility, not unlike that exhibited in the financial markets."

GREGG STEINHAFEL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, TARGET CORP

"Sales for the month of October were very disappointing, with continued volatility in daily results. We expect the recent challenging sales environment to continue into the holiday season and beyond as a result of the economic factors currently affecting consumer spending."

EDUARDO CASTRO-WRIGHT, CEO OF U.S. OPERATIONS, WAL-MART

STORES INC

"We see more customers shopping more often at Wal-Mart. Customers see that we are broadening the price gap against our competitors."

KAY KRILL, CEO AND PRESIDENT, ANNTAYLOR STORES CORP

"The dramatic deterioration in both the financial markets and the macroeconomic environment in September and October has put additional pressure on the retail industry, in general, and the women's apparel sector, in particular. As a result, third-quarter financial results are tracking well below our previous expectations."

SAM DUNCAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, OFFICEMAX INC

"Given the expected weak economic outlook, we are cautious in our expectations for the fourth quarter ... We expect significantly reduced sales and, like other companies, we anticipate a weak 2008 holiday season."

KEVIN MANSELL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, KOHL'S CORP

"October's results continue to show that our customers are focused on need and value in their purchases."

MICHAEL BALMUTH, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ROSS STORES INC

"While we believe our resilient off-price model continues to hold up well in today's difficult macro-economic and retail climate, we remain cautious given the likelihood of a very promotional holiday season."

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta, Ben Klayman in Chicago and Sarah Coffey, Martinne Geller and Nicole Maestri in New York)

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