Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Rebate checks fail to lift all retailers

June 5, 2008

Check Out where consumers did and did not spend their government rebate checks.

The “economic stimulus” checks appeared to have helped retailers to better than expected sales in May, but discounters seemed to get the lion’s share of benefits as consumers bypassed niceties in favor of necessities like gas and food.

shoppersDiscounter Wal-Mart posted its strongest monthly sales performance since March 2007 and shoppers cashed $350 million worth of tax rebate checks at its stores.

Club store Costco posted better-than-expected May sales, boosted by food, gas and the weak dollar. BJ’s Wholesale Club’s sales were also higher.

While stores catering to teens and children also got their share of May spending — sales at Children’s Place and Buckle  topped Wall Street targets — other sectors of the retail sector struggled.

High-end department store Nordstrom had better-than-expected May sales — but that was largely because it held a major sale a month earlier than last year. Rival Saks’ sales were worse than expected. 

Sales at Limited Brands, the owner of underwear seller Victoria’s Secret, were off slightly more than anticipated and Gap’s monthly sales tumbled, hurt by weakness at Banana Republic, value-priced Old Navy and its namesake stores.
Also in the basket: 
Wall St. rises, spurred by retailers, data     
Home Depot sees weak same-store sales in second quarter
Target May same-store sales fall, missing view
TJX May same-store sales rise 2 percent
Family Dollar May same-store sales up 1.8 percent 
(Photo: Reuters)


You can’t really expect people to spend the rebate checks on luxury items, that is not the purpose in the first place.

At least some retailers benefited from the stimulus, there will be a trickle down effect on the general economy.


If people are smart they would place the rebate check out of reach so that when the economy hits the very bottom they will have something to get them through.

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

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