On top of the more than two-dozen retailers that disclosed disappointing holiday sales guiding earnings expectations lower, retailers from Express (EXPR) to Lululemon Athletica (LULU) to Signet Jewelers (SIG) have already warned of disappointing January sales.
The latest tragedy among the retail fold was Wednesday's earnings release from Coach (COH). Coach reported lower-than-expected earnings and sales for the fourth quarter, citing disappointing holiday sales in the U.S. for the miss.
Weather hasn't helped the retailers either.
While Mother Nature was busy with several winter storms affecting the Midwest and East Coast in December, the "suboptimal weather has carried over into January, first with the Polar Vortex keeping most people huddled up inside followed by several more winter storms including this week's latest installment to hit the Washington to Boston corridor," Perkins wrote. "Temperatures have plummeted and consumers are likely to remain indoors and cold weather is expected to persist through the end of the month."
As if business wasn't tough enough, the security breaches at Target (TGT) and Neiman Marcus adds further fuel to the fire keeping customers at bay, according to Perkins.
Industry horn blowers like TheStreet's Rocco Pendola and Brian Sozzi are right to sound caution -- 2014 is just the beginning of the end for retail as we know it, because the retail roller coaster ride is just beginning.
--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.