For more than a year, the biggest names at the shopping mall have cast a hopeful eye on the declining jobless rate and low gas prices, betting that it was only a matter of time before consumers snapped out of a cycle of tepid spending that has left many retailers grappling with weak sales and declining store traffic. But, with the likes of Gap, Macy’s and Kohl’s reporting this week that they rang up surprisingly dismal sales this spring, retailers — especially apparel chains and department stores — are facing a troubling reckoning. The economy is bouncing back, and customers just aren’t hitting stores or filling up digital carts like the shopping giants thought they would.
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THE WASHINGTON POST 5/12/2016