Many Chains Expected to Post Softer December Sales

Atlanta Many U.S. retailers are expected to report disappointing December sales later this week, hurt by everything from the challenging economy to unfavorable weather to the calendar, which shifted more holiday sales to November.

Though media reports said apparel sales picked up after Christmas, analysts said some retailers’ quarterly earnings estimates are at risk as higher gasoline prices and recession fears in the face of a still-weakening housing market weigh on consumer spending.