Another place that depends on discretionary spending: relatively high-end department store Macy’s (M).
While luxury shoppers — like those snatching up the hottest fashions at Lululemon (LULU) and Michael Kors (KORS) — are likely resilient to an uptick in gas prices, Macy’s consumer base is much more aspirational, and thus much more likely to feel the sting.
Of course, Macy’s has been on a roll of late, outpacing the broader market with respective year-to-date and 12-month gains of 23% and 40%. But at least part of its success has come in the face of rival JCPenney‘s (JCP) struggles, and even its strong first-quarter earnings didn’t come without warnings.
For one, Chief Financial Officer Karen Hoguet told analysts that the company was already seeing weakness among its more budget-conscious customers “amid concerns about sharp cuts in government spending and a wobbly job market,” The Chicago Tribune reported.
Once again, gas prices are only going to make that reality worse.