Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Consumers seek basics; retailers seek mergers

May 21, 2008

eggs.jpgCheck out a busy day for retailers as earnings — or losses – poured in from BJ’s Wholesale, Talbots, Charming Shoppes and Brown Shoe. 

The “flight to necessities” by the U.S. consumer was on display as BJ’s  — which sells food and fuel — posted a 26 percent jump in quarterly profit.

But for businesses steeped in discrection, the quarter was no cakewalk.  Talbots posted sharply lower quarterly net profit; Charming Shoppes reported a quarterly loss and Brown Shoe posted a lower first-quarter profit.

clothes.jpgWith the U.S. environment a tough one to navigate, retailers are looking to add or subtract businesses to put themselves in a better position. 

Spectrum Brands announced plans to sell its global pet supply business to a subsidiary of Salton Inc; the Wall Street Journal reported that Barnes and Noble Inc is looking into a possible bid for competitor Borders Group; and Dutch office supplier Corporate Express is seeking to buy French rival Lyreco for 1.4 billion euros ($2.2 billion), as it fends off a hostile bid from U.S. rival Staples.

(Photos: Reuters)

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