In focus: Macy's fall sales in the spotlight as all-important holiday shopping season looms

Macy’s third-quarter results, expected before the market opens Wednesday, should show insight into its customers’ spending habits heading into the all-important holiday season.

The department store chain, based in Cincinnati, has found success tailoring merchandise to local markets. But like other clothing retailers, Macy’s saw sales slow down over the summer amid new worries about the economy. Consumers also shifted their spending toward bigger-ticket items like homes and cars. Analysts will be watching to see if sluggish sales continued into the fall, and whether the partial government shutdown crimped revenue.

Also of interest: any more details on how Macy’s will compete during the fiercely competitive holiday shopping season, which accounts for 20 per cent to 40 per cent of retailers’ annual revenue. Macy’s has said that it will open on Thanksgiving evening for the first time ever.