It seems there are mixed results in the retail space for the summer of 2012. Many of the big box stores seem to have flat sales, or are just barely missing their revenue and profit targets. Speaking of targets, the department store Target showed increased sales, but took a hit on the costs of opening new stores in urban areas. In the small business office store sector both Staples and Office Depot noted a slowdown in same-store sales. Abercrombie and Fitch showed profit down 52% in the second quarter.The dollar store missed its earnings, and Walmart did not do so hot either, much of the reason has to do with the slowing down of consumer spending, and the fact that it’s overseas sales have slowed, particularly in China, where consumers seem to be only shopping right after their payday cycle. Indeed, I imagine this is part of the challenge with the fast food restaurants that are also in China. Of course, the slowdown in the manufacturing sector in China, and the cause of the decreased jobs or need for labor has much to do with the economic crisis in Europe.Further, in many countries in Europe the consumer has dropped off the face of the planet, and is nowhere to be seen. This is causing terrible hardship for those that work retail in these countries, as well as those who manufacture the goods, meaning it is hurting many US corporations, bringing questions about third quarter and fourth-quarter earnings, while all the Wall Street analysts are downplaying their estimates, as well they should.The discounters, and department stores also did not hit its estimates, nor did they make Wall Street estimates, so it appears that even the low-cost high-volume venues are not pulling, which is unusual for an economic recession or slowdown. Has the consumer become lethargic? It’s hard to say because the online venues continue to do more in sales each quarter and each year. Has there been a shift in the mindset of consumers, are they migrating to Internet retailers? Sure there is some of that, but there is definitely a slowdown afoot, and it seems to be being felt by all.Very few retailers right now are breaking any speed records, and while some are holding steady at the present, it doesn’t bode very well for the future, which is surprising seeing as we are in an election year. The big question is what comes next? What will the fourth quarter of 2012 be like, and what about the Christmas season and the retail sector in 2013? Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.