The retail industry is entering the holiday shopping season, when many companies record up to 40 percent of their annual revenue. The retail industry, excluding restaurants, could lose at least $25 billion in sales this week, estimates Burt Flickinger III, managing director of retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group.
Even home improvement chains and grocers that will benefit from shoppers stocking up on emergency supplies before the hurricane and cleaning and repair items afterward could lose sales in the long run if overstretched consumers feel they must scale back.
"If you're spending $400 on a generator, that could hurt discretionary purchases," said Brian Sozzi, chief equities analyst at NBG Productions.
Flickinger now estimates that holiday sales in November and December will rise 2.1 percent over last year instead of the 3.2 percent he had originally predicted.A better idea of how Hurricane Sandy is affecting the retail business will come Thursday, when some major retailers like Target Corp. and Macy's will report sales figures for October. ___ AP Business Writers Matthew Craft, Anne D'Innocenzio and Samantha Bomkamp in New York, Joshua Freed in Minneapolis and Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin in Detroit contributed to this report.