I don't disagree with much of what you wrote but also remember there has been a big shift in these retail conference calls from a year ago.. What has happened since then double-digit inflation, and I do not care what they say about inflation moderating.
I went shopping today and bought about 7 or 8 items 2 very small ribeye steaks, an onion, chicken legs, hamburger meat a pack of hot dogs and buns and two lemonade cans. The meat prices have taken off again, anyway these items cost about 100 dollars.
I can spend whatever I want on food, it is not going to affect me. I could eat out every day, and it would not hurt my budget but the poor. If they need it, and can't afford it stealing is the viable option. Granted Ulta's problems seemed organized and no one needs perfume, but you sure can sell it at a discount on Ebay. But it is not just Ulta, all the retail stories are telling a similar story. What people can buy, but they need well they are taking the items.
If you are poor and middle class you are hurting. If you are retired on a fixed income you are falling behind. If people can't afford it, they can always go to the self check out lane and not scan much of their purchases.