Macy's reported today that sales and profit are down.
The company blamed weather and increased competition for the slump.
But the most disturbing reason business is declining could be the state of the average Macy's consumer.
"The consumer has not bounced back with the confidence that we were all looking for," CEO Terry Lundgren said at the Goldman Sachs Annual Retail Conference in September
Despite recent gains in employment, consumers don't have the spending power that they used to.
Every group surveyed by the Federal Reserve Board had a lower mean income in 2013 than they did in 2007.
Mean wealth also declined for all the groups.
Macy's CFO Karen Hoguet is blaming Netflix for her brand's slow sales.
Millennials have a tendency to spend money on electronics and online subscriptions rather than apparel, Hoguet said at a recent conference covered by MarketWatch.
"I think part of that is the customers are buying other things, whether the electronics, cable services, Netflix, whatever," Hoguet said.
While some products, like cosmetics, are selling well with the younger set, Hoguet told analysts that consumers today have priorities other than clothing and housewares.
"Shoppers are spending more of their disposable dollars on categories we donít sell, like cars, healthcare, electronics, and home improvement," Hoguet said in a call with investors.
Brands ranging from Wal-Mart to Family Dollar have seen declines in business.
The companies blames economic strife in the middle class for the disappointing results.
But Lewis offers an interesting alternative theory ó perhaps consumers won't pay full price because they've become addicted to promotions.
"With coupons, discounts, loyalty points and gifts-with-purchase more the rule than the exception today, consumers are spending less because they can," he writes.
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