Don't Run From Retail Just Yet

You have to love the disconnect between the 30%-plus performance in the SPDR S&P Retail Index (XRT) year to date and recent trends in retail stores. It is clear that traffic hit a wall this summer and few retailers have been able to jump the hurdle this fall.

The low end has obviously been suffering the most and that won't change anytime soon, especially as food-stamp benefits are set to decline in November. That means consumers will have to shell out more on needs and less on wants. Translation: see the discretionary high-margin category at dollar stores continue to decline, and don't expect Wal-Mart's (WMT) comp traffic to turn positive any time soon. This month's WMT analyst day meeting said it all -- well, the company said nothing about current comp trends, which said it all. ...211 more words left in this article. To read them, just click below and try Real Money FREE for 14 days.

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