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Aug 20, 2013

Penney sales stumble but back-to-school up and running

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – J.C. Penney Co Inc’s (JCP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) sales continued to fall sharply last quarter as shoppers balked at the fancier items in its relaunched home-goods section, but there were signs the retailer was winning back customers this back-to-school season.

The company on Tuesday said sales trend had improved every month in the quarter and said business so far this back-to-school period, the second-most important for Penney after the holidays, was “encouraging.”

Aug 16, 2013

Analysis: U.S. retailers say uneven recovery keeps consumers cautious

By Phil Wahba and Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – From Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Gap Inc to Macy’s Inc and McDonald’s Corp, chains that cater to middle- and lower-income Americans say they are feeling the pinch of an uneven economic recovery.

A host of retailers have reported tepid sales lately, highlighting the stress that consumers are feeling because of higher payroll taxes, expensive gasoline and a slow job market four years after the U.S. economy started to rebound.

Aug 15, 2013

Wal-Mart sales disappoint as shoppers worldwide curb spending

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc posted disappointing quarterly sales on Thursday after shoppers worldwide proved cautious, prompting the discount retailer to lower its revenue and profit forecasts for the year.

“The retail environment was challenging across all of our markets,” Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke said in a recording. Shares of Wal-Mart fell 2.5 percent to $74.50 in premarket trading.

Aug 14, 2013

Macy’s sales fall as middle-class consumers remain cautious

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Macy’s Inc (M.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Wednesday reported an unexpected decline in sales and blamed consumers’ hesitation to spend on non-essentials, leading to deeper markdowns and a disappointing profit.

Its shares fell about 4.1 percent, or $2.02, to $46.45 in early trading.

The retailer said comparable sales and overall sales slid 0.8 percent in the second quarter. Analysts expected comparable sales to rise 2.3 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Aug 14, 2013

JCPenney focus turns to holiday prospects as Ackman drama ebbs

By Phil Wahba and Dhanya Skariachan

(Reuters) – Now that activist investor William Ackman has stepped down after a week-long public spat with fellow board members at J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), all eyes are back on whether the department store chain can avert a potentially disastrous sales decline this holiday season.

Next Tuesday, the retailer is expected to report a 7.4 percent decline in second-quarter same-store sales, thanks largely to the lingering effect of former CEO Ron Johnson’s failed no-discounting strategy, which caused many of Penney’s traditional middle-class customers to desert the store group. Its sales fell 25 percent in 2012.

Aug 13, 2013

Ackman quits J.C. Penney board, ending feud

By Phil Wahba and Matthew Goldstein

(Reuters) – The circus-like atmosphere that had taken over the boardroom at J.C. Penney Co Inc ended on Tuesday with hedge fund billionaire William Ackman stepping down from the board of the struggling U.S. retailer.

Ackman’s decision to leave comes after a failed two-year attempt by his Pershing Square Capital Management hedge fund to remake Penney’s into a more upscale retail chain and a week of public fighting with other board members including interim-Chief Executive Officer Myron (Mike) Ullman.

Aug 8, 2013

U.S. retailers boost July sales with heavy discounts, promotions

Aug 8 (Reuters) – U.S. retailers reported higher sales for
July, but they relied heavily on discounts to lure
cost-conscious shoppers who have remained frugal so far during
the crucial back-to-school season.

Eleven retailers that still release monthly sales figures
for stores open at least a year reported a combined 3.9 percent
gain, missing the 4.4 percent increase analysts expected,
according to Thomson Reuters.

Aug 8, 2013

U.S. same-store sales rise in July, helped by promotions

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – A group of large U.S. retailers reported higher sales for July, but had to resort to bargains to lure shoppers who are still careful in their spending while the job market continues its slow recovery.

Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year rose 4 percent last month, below analysts’ expectations of a 5.1 percent increase.

Aug 7, 2013

Ralph Lauren sales at its own stores slow; shares fall

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Ralph Lauren Corp (RL.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Wednesday reported disappointing quarterly sales at its own stores, raising concerns that it is expanding too quickly, and the fashion company reiterated its forecast for modest growth this fiscal year.

Shares of Ralph Lauren fell 6.1 percent to $177.89 (£114.70) in midday trading.

Aug 7, 2013

Ralph Lauren profit declines as sales at its stores slump

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Ralph Lauren Corp (RL.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Wednesday reported a lower quarterly profit on disappointing results at its own stores, and the fashion company reiterated its forecast for modest growth this fiscal year.

Shares of Ralph Lauren were down 6.6 percent to $177 in premarket trading.

Sales at its stores open at least a year slipped 1 percent, although they would have risen at that rate without the impact of currency fluctuations, and investments the company has made in opening new stores and renovating others dented profits.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Wahba joined Reuters in 2008 and has covered the exchanges, equity capital markets (IPOs), corporate bankruptcies and now covers retailers such as department stores and booksellers."
      Hometown:
      Montreal
      Joined Reuters:
      2008
      Languages:
      English, French, Spanish, German and Danish.
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