Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: December sales slump

January 8, 2009

Check Out the drop in sales.

It was no surprise that sales were weak in December, though some retailers stood out Thursday for their worse-than-expected performance.

WALMART/Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, said sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose just 1.7 percent, while analysts were expecting a 2.8 percent increase.  Wal-Mart and other chains such as Macy’s cut guidance for the fourth quarter ending later this month.
Shares of Wal-Mart fell more than 9 percent on Thursday morning, dragging the Dow Jones industrial average into negative territory as well.

Research firm Retail Metrics said that while the month was not as bad as it could have been, it was still ugly.

Among the retailers that bucked the trend:
Target‘s same-store sales fell 4.1 percent, but that drop was less than expected.
Discount chains TJX and Ross Stores said same-store sales were in line with last year, while analysts had expected both of their sales to fall. Kohl’s, meanwhile, said same-store sales fell only 1.4 percent, while analysts expected a 5.5 percent dip. 
Some teenagers apparently still have some money to spend — or they got others to buy them gifts last month.  Aeropostale‘s same-store sales jumped 12 percent (analysts predicted a decline) and Hot Topic‘s same-store sales rose a better-than-expected 4.3 percent.  Guess people are still heading to the stores for ”Twilight” perfume, shirts and other items.

Also in the basket:

Sears Holdings same-store sales fall, cash rises

Walgreen cuts about 1,000 jobs

European shoppers seek value as economy darkens

U.S. Fashion’s One-Woman Bailout? (New York Times)

(Reuters photo)

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