Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Wal-Mart Wins

March 5, 2009

samsclubCheck out the benefit of lower fuel prices on consumer spending.

Wal-Mart Stores continues to stand out as consumers go for bargains in the recession. The top retailer led other chains with a better-than-expected 5.1 percent rise in sales at stores open at least a year in February, and announced it was boosting its dividend.

Relief from high gasoline prices is giving consumers more money to spend on discretionary items, Wal-Mart said.

Other retailers weren’t so lucky, with apparel and department store chains posting some of the biggest sales drops for February. While lower gas prices appear to be giving lower-end consumers a break, weak financial markets are still leading wealthier shoppers to pull back, hurting Saks and Nordstrom.

Also in the basket:

Mortgage delinquencies still rising

Blockbuster same-store sales up

Gymboree has bleak outlook

(Photo: Reuters)

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