The retail sector will take center stage this week, offering investors a look at how slowing spending and changes in consumer buying habits are affecting sales.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is expected to report a drop in second-quarter profits tomorrow, as it struggles to clear out a surge in inventories built up amid changes in customer buying habits. The retailer has seen a jump in purchases of lower-margin food items with inflation near its highest level in four decades.
It could be a similar story for Target as it releases its outlook for sales and earnings on Wednesday, following earlier warnings from the company that inflation was hurting consumer spending at its stores, leading to lower profits for the full year. As with Walmart, investors will look to see if Target has been able to reduce its inventory levels and whether it needs to offer more discounts to unload its excess stock.
Tomorrow, Home Depot is expected to show a rise in second quarter revenue amid steady demand for tools, paint, and building materials for professionals and homeowners. On Wednesday, Lowe’s is also expected to post a slight increase in second quarter revenue, boosted by pent-up demand for patio furniture and grills after a cooler April impacted demand in the spring selling season.
Other retailers reporting this week will include Tapestry, Kohl’s, and Ross Stores, among others. The government will also report on retail sales data for July this week. Sales are expected to have risen at a slower pace of 0.1% for July, after rising 1% in June.
"Investors have been steering clear of the big box retailers until they are out from under the bullwhip effect that caused them to be overstocked with inventory thatconsumers want, and not enough of what they do at price point they are willing to pay. That overhang could last several quarters," said Caleb Silver, Editor-in-Chief of Investopedia.