Target's holiday gloom drags down retail stocks

STORY: Target on Wednesday added to the chorus of retailers warning it will be a less than jolly holiday season…

blaming nagging inflation for curbing consumer demand for everything from toys to electronics.

Target shares tumbled 15% after the open and are now down by about one-third so far this year….

Shares of fellow retailers Macy's, Best Buy and Dollar Tree also slid, as did the S&P 500 retail index.

Third-quarter profit at Target suffered, too, due in part to shoppers holding back in search of steeper discounts.

The big box retailer said it would launch a cost-cutting plan to save two to three billion dollars over three years, but declined to give specific details.

It did, however, say that mass layoffs or a hiring freeze were not part of its current plans.

Among the major retailers, Target has been hit the hardest by a pullback in consumer spending, as its product mix leans more toward discretionary items such as clothing, home furnishings and electronics – as opposed to Walmart, which dedicates more than half of its shelf space to groceries and other daily essentials.

Walmart shares on Wednesday stayed afloat, one day after raising its full-year sales and profit forecast, but even the world’s largest retailer, along with Amazon and FedEx, has warned of a pullback in consumer holiday spending.