"Near term, consumers are still very cautious in terms of where they're spending. Maybe there's still a hangover from Christmas," Linda Tsai, vice president and senior softline analyst at ITG Investment Research Inc., told The Deal's Richard Collings at the ICR XChange conference. "But as we look out at the second half, I think there's still some opportunity for retailers to be better again. The big headwind that was hurting them was basically higher product costs, and for the most part, product costs are going to be down year over year as we enter the second half of 2012." Tsai goes on to spell out the options for retailers such as Zumiez Inc., Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co., who all have cash on their balance sheets. - George White
Former Grant Thornton LLP chief operating officer, Lou Grabowsky left Chicago to open a private equity firm in Dallas with his son Bryan Grabowsky. For other updates launch today's Movers & shakers slideshow.