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The Week Ahead: US retail sales, Walmart and Target earnings

Welcome to a new week. The final days of summer are upon us, which brings a few chances to get in some more sunshine, and start getting ready for fall. Here’s a look at what’s on the calendar in ecommerce and retail:

Events

  • SuperZoo: Pet retailers, suppliers and manufacturers meet in Las Vegas for a show that is set to bring together more than 20,000 professionals. August 23-25
  • NACDS Total Store Expo: Retailers and suppliers in the health and wellness industry will be in Boston to view new products and attend programming featuring speakers including former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Axios National Political Reporter Jonathan Swan. August 27-29

Economic indicators

  • Durable goods orders for July will be reported on Wednesday. This measures orders placed with manufacturers for goods that are designed to last more than three years. This metric rose unexpectedly in June, with inflation flagged as the likely cause. August 24
  • The personal income expenditures index will be reported Friday. The preferred inflation measure of the Federal Reserve, this price index was recorded at a 40-year-high of 6.8% in June. Economists will be looking for signs that interest rate hikes are having an effect, and what this month’s measure says about what action the Fed might take when it meets again in September. August 26
  • Consumer sentiment will be reported for the final reading of August on Friday. As measured by the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers, this index only edged up in the first half of August after hitting an all-time low in June. August 27

Earnings

Retailers are in the spotlight once again as second quarter earnings season makes the final turn for home.

  • Tuesday, August 23: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Urban Outfitters, Macy’s, Nordstrom.
  • Wednesday, August 24: Williams-Sonoma, Guess.
  • Thursday, August 25: Ulta Beauty, Coty, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap Inc., Movado Group, Peloton Interactive.

Stories we’re following

  • Back-to-school hits high gear: With many K-12 schools in the final weeks before a new year and college students gearing up for move-in, the back-to-school deals are getting more visible. We’ll be watching for signs of how retail’s second-busiest season is stacking up at a time when inflation is forcing consumers to make choices.
  • Retail earnings, Week 2: A host of apparel and beauty retailers will report second quarter earnings. Last week, Walmart and Target detailed efforts to work through inventory, and their view of consumer behavior amid inflation. This week, we’ll get a clearer look at two of the key categories that shape consumer goods on their own. A host of brands and retailers have laid off corporate employees in recent weeks, so we'll also be watching to see whether that continues, and the fallout from the job cuts that have already taken place.
  • Fed tea leaves: Along with new inflation numbers, this week will also feature a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell from the central bank’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole. While this will not bring a new interest rate increase and there will be more data released before the Fed meeting that will bring the next decision in September, Powell’s words will be watched closely for indications of hikes may continue, and whether they are likely to be as high as the back-to-back 0.75% increases of the summer.

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