- settling the big retail debate; and
- paying the piper
Retail Faces Defining Week Posted at 6:23 a.m. EDT on Friday, Aug. 16 The biggest debate in retail will be solved next week. Right now, there's a definitive split out there. The stock intelligentsia believes that the public is still spending, but only on the house, not the body. In other words, apparel's weak, much weaker, but home goods are strong. The debate gets settled next week when Home Depot ( HD) and Lowe's ( LOW) report. I have to tell you that I am truly worried about retail here. Our country seems, overnight, to have become a nation of savers. The borrowings are way down and the money's not being spent at the mall. People seem to be hunkering down at precisely the moment they shouldn't be, when jobs are coming back. There are two explanations. One is that Washington wrecked things with the taxes and the sequester and people are feeling it, especially when the tax of higher gasoline is upon us. Another is that they are still spending, but they are spending it on their homes now that homes are going up in value. Anyone who has been on a Home Depot call knows that home spending has been below average for years and years now. Maybe that's changing.