AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre With Dec. 25 about seven weeks away, the retail industry is struggling with consumers’ eroding confidence and a weakening sales trend amid mounting problems in the economy. Throughout the year, shoppers have been faced with higher gas and food bills and depreciating value of their homes. Tighter credit has also become an issue in recent months. And while last week’s move by the Federal Reserve to cut a key interest rate by a quarter-point will make it cheaper to borrow money, economists say it may be too late to help boost holiday spending. Amid such challenges, many stores including Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us Inc. aim to jump start the season early this year by offering door busters and big discounts starting last weekend in a season that is expected to show the slowest growth since 2002. But shoppers don’t seem to be in a hurry to buy. NEW YORK – The outlook for the holiday shopping season grew bleaker Thursday after retailers announced disappointing October sales results due to consumers’ ongoing worries about housing and higher energy prices. The downbeat news came from all sectors including mall-based apparel stores like Limited Brands Inc. and department stores like Macy’s Inc. Even upscale Nordstrom Inc. posted a rare sales decline while Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, posted sales below expectations despite its aggressive discounting heading into the holidays. Warehouse club operators including Costco Wholesale Corp. and BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. were among the few standouts, a sign that consumers are searching for lower prices. “Overall, the sales trend continues to slow,” said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics LLC, a research company in Swampscott, Mass. “I think the consumer is certainly feeling the (economic) pressure heading into the holidays.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!