As if the wallets weren’t shut tight enough already: retail sales fell even further in January, putting a damper on related exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Anne D’Innocenzio for the Associated Press reports that retailers had their weakest January performance in almost four decades. High gas and food prices, a sagging housing market, growing credit crisis and a weakening job market are all blamed. Consumers appear to mostly be sticking to purchasing necessities, even when it came time to use their gift cards.

And almost no retailing sector was spared the crunch: discounters such as Wal-Mart (WMT), teen retailers and even stores that cater to the affluent set, such as Nordstrom (JWN), all were hurt.

Retail ETFs are likely to show the strain, too. In the last week, the Retail HOLDRs (RTH) is down 1.9%. Among its major holdings are Wal-Mart (18.3%) and Target (TGT, 8.6%)

The SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) is down 1.7% over the last week. Among its holdings are Nordstrom (1.8%) and Limited Brands (LTD, 1.8%).


The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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