By Brian A. Schactman, CNBC Reporter
There has been a great deal of talk about a consumer slowdown this summer. We've seen it in consumer sentiment and confidence, but has it translated into behavior and spending? Based on earnings reports, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Let's start with Kellogg ( K), the world's largest cereal maker. The company basically had a worst-case scenario: Revenue and profits missed estimates, and the maker of Fruit Loops and Corn Flakes lowered its full-year guidance. In fact, profits were 15 percent lower than a year ago. That's a departure from the general pattern of growth in earnings if not in revenue. Kellogg dropped in both categories. Some of the drag involved a voluntary recall of 28 million boxes of cereal, which translated into 10 cents a share of lost profit, but overall, there was a weakness in cereal sales. In North America, sales were down double-digits. Latin America and Asia did grow, but not enough to offset domestic weakness.
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