Now it's the retailers' turn to speak--I don't expect to hear much happy talk

08/05/2009 7:19 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

On Thursday August 6 retailers will report same-store sales for July. The numbers are likely to be just more of the same ugly digits reported in June. Bad weather hasn't helped. Labor Day doesn't come until Septemvber 7 this year, delaying the back to school shopping of even the earliest of early birds.

Oh, and then there's that recession thing going on.

Goldman Sachs is projecting that comparable sales will fall about 5.5% from July 2008. (All these numbers now exclude Wal-Mart, which has stopped reporting monthly numbers.) That would keep up the string of 4% to 5.5% declines that now goes back to December.

Of course, retailers have been bringing in their estimates for sales growth month after month. So the real question for investors is whether or not retail companies will miss already low projections. June was grim on this front with fifteen companies missing sales estimates.

With everyone expecting these numbers to be terrible, only the worst misses will significantly hurt retailers' shars. Wall Steet analysts--that is those not on the beach already--will be looking ahead to the August and September back to school sales numbers anyway.

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