Warning signs for higher-end retail apparel stocks are starting to crop up. 

Consumer spending has largely been trending downward, and recent earnings reports and analyst research reports have shown micro trends that seem to correspond with the macro. 

"The Abercrombie & Fitch team acknowledged a promotional and competitive environment that they expect to persist," a team of Goldman Sachs retail analysts wrote in a note. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF - Get Report) , last week, issued disappointing guidance resulting from tariffs on apparel goods, not helping the consumer. The company expects same-store sales growth for the full year to be between 0% and 2.5%, for a mid-point of 1.25%. Analysts polled by FactSet had modeled 1.5%. 

Recently, Nordstrom (JWN - Get Report) earned 90 cents a share on revenue of $3.87 billion. Analysts were looking for 77 cents a share on revenue of $3.92 billion. Sales fell 6.5% year over year in the quarter. Nordstrom was able to cut costs enough to beat earnings expectations, as revenue fell short. That supported the stock, but some analysts identified an environment of heavy in-store promotions as an area of concern, highlighting a consumer not very hungry.

"We look for more positive sales and promotional trends before becoming more constructive on shares," wrote Wedbush Securities analyst Jen Redding in a note out after earnings. "Our data continue to turn less and less positive for department stores, with discounting up across the board -- indicative of an increasingly fierce competitive environment."

Last week, consumer spending data came in with strength, rising 0.6% year-over-year for the month of July. That was satisfactory for the market, but June's spending increase was only 0.3%, amidst an overall trend of decelerating spend. 

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