In these days of disappointing financial results at retail, companies are butchering the language and spinning their best in order to downplay the bad news.

George Orwell once wrote: “Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way.” Had the author of “1984” and coiner of the term “Newspeak” (“Freedom is Slavery”) lived to see a modern apparel company’s earnings release when its profits were in “a bad way,” he would probably require the Heimlich maneuver to keep from choking on its turgid, obfuscating prose.

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