Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Christmas, anyone?

October 20, 2008

scrooge.jpgCheck out the holiday cheer coming from Hasbro’s CEO.
 
Remember when everyone said luxury stocks were more immune to a recession? That was before the housing slump, the credit crisis and the meltdown on Wall Street. Now the Dow Jones Luxury Index is down 52 percent from a year ago.
 
Remember when food companies said they were a little less vulnerable to an economic downturn because people still have to eat? Well, people still need to eat, but lower-priced store brands have been taking market share and food shares, as demonstrated by the Standard & Poor’s Packaged Foods index falling 11 percent in the past three weeks.
 
Well, now the next test case might be the idea that people will still keep spending on toys for their children during Christmas.

“We still believe that Christmas will come for consumers and retailers this year and our retailers have agreed that toys and games are more recession resistant than other discretionary spending categories,” Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said during a conference call with analysts.
 
Hasbro beat analysts quarterly profit estimates, while higher costs caused Mattel to miss.
 
But what kind of Christmas will it be? Christmas came for the Cratchits in “A Christmas Carol,” but while it was full of good feeling and cheer, it was a tad light on presents, at least before Scrooge had his epiphany.
 
Will Christmas for toymakers be commercial, or Dickensian?
 
Also in the basket:
 
U.N. agency says crisis to cost 20 million jobs
 
Circuit City weighs broad cuts (WSJ, subscription required)
 
Adrenalina bids for PacSun (WWD, subscription required)

 (Reuters photo)

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