As merchants announced their August sales results, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, reported a solid gain that beat Wall Street forecasts. But mall-based apparel stores, like teen merchants Wet Seal Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co., remained in the doldrums. And high-end retailers Saks Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. posted weaker results as their affluent customers start to feel pinched.
"Consumers are spending on necessities and looking for value and the lowest price possible. And it's reflective again in the results that we are seeing," said Ken Perkins, president of search company