Good luck assessing the health of the retail sector heading into the critical holiday shopping season. The signals couldn’t be more mixed.
On Wednesday, two more big U.S. chain stores – J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Staples Inc. – joined the growing list of retailers disappointing the markets with weak results. The day before, Sears Canada Inc. reported a deep quarterly loss. Last week, Canadian grocery chains Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and Metro Inc. posted weaker-than-expected numbers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported slumping same-store sales, and warned that it expects flat sales for the holiday season.