Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Mixed messages from retailers

August 28, 2008

Check out retailers’ profits and forecasts.

A discerning shopper, or investor for that matter, could browse the aisles of the retail financial world and come away with very different messages on the strength of the U.S. economy depending on which company’s results they chose.

default-2.jpgOn the plus side,  upscale jeweler Tiffany posted a better-than-expected profit and raised its full-year outlook, although that was driven by strong sales overseas. Tiffany expects U.S. same-store sales to return to growth in the fourth quarter. Shoe and hat retailer Genesco, and home-appliance and consumer-electronics retailer Conn’s also topped Wall Street’s views and boosted their forecasts.

For the pessimists out there, Williams-Sonoma saw its profit fall and it cut its forecast, while Sears Holdings also fell short of expectations amid the weak housing market.

Somewhere in the middle was discount store operator Fred’s, which reported a profit in line with what analysts were expecting.

Retailers have been hit in varying degrees as consumers dial back discretionary spending due to the pressure from high food and gasoline prices. Even as the U.S. economy grew stronger than first thought in the second quarter, economists see growth slowing as the year progresses.

Also in the basket:

Genesco posts better-than-expected profits; ups views

Williams-Sonoma profit falls, forecast cut

Sears Holdings profit falls short

Fred’s Q2 profit in line with market estimates

Michael Kors (but You Knew That) (New York Times)

(Photo: Reuters)

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