Black Friday is just three weeks away. But will it turn out to be a bleak Friday for big consumer companies?
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Both companies have been notoriously cautious with their guidance in the past. They may be merely setting the bar low in the hopes they will be able to easily surpass their targets -- and ultimately be rewarded by Wall Street for doing so.
Some experts are still predicting a holiday shopping bonanza this year, particularly for mobile and e-commerce retailers.
Software giant Adobe (ADBE) released its annual online holiday shopping forecast Thursday and it predicted that digital sales will be up nearly 15% from a year ago to a record $124.1 billion during the holidays.
And the National Retail Federation expects overall retail sales -- which includes brick and mortar stores -- will be up between 4.3 and 4.8 percent compared to last year, a growth rate slightly higher than the average spending gains during the past few years.
Still, a look at other recent earnings reports from consumer gadget companies, retailers and restaurants show a somewhat disturbing trend: Apple and Amazon aren't the only ones that have surprised investors with less-than-stellar outlooks.
Toymaker Hasbro (HAS) posted disappointing results for the third quarter too, and there are worries about how both it and rival Mattel (MAT) will fare this Christmas following the closing of Toys "R" Us.
Of course, there are always winners and losers in the retail and consumer landscape. EA rival Take-Two (TTWO) is thriving thanks to its new Red Dead Redemption 2 game. Starbucks (SBUX) and Dunkin' (DNKN) are both attracting more customers.
While it's clearly still too soon to throw in the towel on the fourth quarter and declare that this year's holiday shopping season will be a dud, the early signs from Corporate America don't point to tidings of great joy.
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