Journalist, New York
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May 16, 2013

Lower income shoppers still feeling pinched, U.S. retailers say

NEW YORK/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Cooler than usual weather and belt-tightening by shoppers still struggling with higher payroll taxes and stubborn unemployment dampened sales last quarter at chains from Macy’s Inc (M.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Wal-Mart reported a 1.4 percent drop in sales at Walmart U.S. stores open at least a year, and gave a profit forecast for the second quarter that missed Wall Street estimates. The world’s largest retailer expects same-store sales at its namesake U.S. discount chain to be up 2 percent at best in the current quarter.

May 16, 2013

J.C. Penney margins plunge, CEO says changes coming

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Executive Myron Ullman told Wall Street on Thursday that the department store chain is emerging from what he called an abyss but warned he needs time to fix the issues of the retailer.

Penney reported another steep quarterly loss on weak sales and heavy clearance deals, but Ullman said the company has taken steps in recent weeks to reassure vendors, shore up its finances, and win back shoppers that defected after a move last year away from coupons.

May 16, 2013

Kohl’s expects sales to pick up

May 16 (Reuters) – Kohl’s Corp said on Thursday it
expects sales to rebound in the current quarter after bad
weather in early spring hurt business at the department store
chain.

The retailer also reported a better-than-expected
first-quarter profit, helped by signs that it is finally beating
a problem that deviled it last year – not ordering the styles
and stock that shoppers wanted.

May 15, 2013

Macy’s profit, same-store sales up, raises dividend

May 15 (Reuters) – Macy’s Inc reported higher
first-quarter profit and sales on Wednesday as it won market
share from rival department store operators.

The company also raised its quarterly dividend 25 percent,
and its shares were up 1.2 percent to $47.84 in morning trading.
On Tuesday the shares hit their highest levels in decades.

May 9, 2013

U.S. same-store sales continue modest recovery in April

May 9 (Reuters) – U.S. retail spending continued to grow
modestly in April as bad weather delayed spring shopping in much
of the country and frugal consumers gravitated toward discount
chains.

Twelve major U.S. retailers reported a 3.7 percent increase
in April sales at stores open at least a year, according to
Thomson Reuters same-store sales index. That was less than the
4.3 percent increase Wall Street expected.

May 9, 2013

Barnes & Noble shares soar on Microsoft report

By Phil Wahba and Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Shares in Barnes & Noble Inc rose 18 percent on Thursday after a report that Microsoft Corp is considering an offer to acquire the tablet and e-book business of B&N’s Nook Media unit.

The technology website TechCrunch reported that Microsoft, which already owns a 17 percent stake in Nook Media, was proposing a $1 billion offer to buy all of Nook’s digital assets. A source familiar with the document cited by TechCrunch confirmed its authenticity.

May 9, 2013

Costco, Victoria’s Secret April sales gains miss forecasts

May 9 (Reuters) – Costco Wholesale Corp and
Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands Inc reported
smaller-than-expected sales gains in April, when consumer mood
swooned on concerns about the job market recovery.

Costco reported a 4 percent gain in sales at stores open at
least a year, slightly less than expected because of sharply
lower gas prices compared with a year ago. Still, the warehouse
club operator said sales of food and consumer electronics were
good.

May 7, 2013

Penney sales tumble again, amid hopeful signs

May 7 (Reuters) – J.C. Penney Co Inc on Tuesday
reported another quarter of steep sales declines, hit by the
lingering effects of its former chief executive’s failed
marketing strategy.

But Wall Street brushed off the news after the company,
which last month brought back ex-CEO Myron Ullman to turn around
its operations, reported cash levels that implied the department
store chain had gone through less money than feared. Vendors and
analysts expect sales to improve later this year.

May 3, 2013

Barnes & Noble adds Google Play app store in bid to improve Nook

May 3 (Reuters) – Barnes & Noble Inc aims to make
its “Nook” tablets more appealing to consumers by offering
buyers access to Google Inc’s apps store, hoping to generate
interest in a device that has made little headway against
Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle and Apple Inc’s iPad.

The top U.S. bookstore chain, trying to reverse a drop in
sales last holiday season of its Nook devices, which include
e-readers, announced it would add Google Play to its Nook HD and
Nook HD+ devices as of Friday.

May 2, 2013

Estée Lauder, Elizabeth Arden sales rise

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Estée Lauder Cos Inc (EL.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday and raised its earnings forecast, boosted by its campaign to cut costs.

The company, which makes luxury skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products, also expects to outperform its rivals in the high-end beauty markets, where industry growth has slowed.

    • 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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