Retailers, consumers and prices
Check Out Line: Big gains for Big Lots and Wal-Mart
Low price retailers appear to be in. The top performing stock in the first quarter among components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, through Friday, was Wal-Mart, with a 9.66 percent gain — one of only five stocks up in the index.
And in a much wider group, Big Lots is the big winner in the S&P 500 with a 40.25 percent gain in through Friday. The shares of the company, which specializes in the sale of excess inventory, posted a 33 percent increase in March alone.
As the U.S. economy struggles, lower-priced retailers like Wal-Mart and Big Lots have benefited from consumers trading down.
Warehouse clubs like Costco and BJ’s have also been helped by customers looking for bargains on food and fuel.
So as the economy worsens, Wal-Mart shareholders gain. Through Friday, Wal-Mart investors are collectively $18.4 billion richer this quarter, the biggest quarterly increase in Wal-Mart’s market cap in four years.
(Additional reporting by Dan Burns)
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