Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: A tale of two retailers

March 19, 2009

EARNINGS/Check out Americans buying fewer books and searching for cheap chic.

Barnes & Noble said quarterly sales at its stores fell 4.8 percent and comparable sales on its web site fell 10.4 percent in the latest quarter.  Over at Ross Stores, sales rose 5 percent, as consumers scooped up bargain fashions.

Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio called 2008 “the most challenging year that the company and the industry have ever experienced” and added the company would continue to hold down expenses to cope.

Sales at the company’s namesake stores open at least a year fell 7.3 percent and things don’t seem to be picking up soon.  Barnes & Noble expects those sales to fall 6 percent to 9 percent this quarter.

On the other hand, here’s what Ross CEO Michael Balmuth had to say:  “We are very pleased with our solid earnings per share growth for both the fourth quarter and fiscal 2008.  Our results are especially noteworthy considering the extremely challenging macro-economic and retail environment that became increasingly difficult as the year progressed.”

 Also in the basket:

Play it safe when you dress for recession success

As recession deepens, more Americans go fishing

(Reuters photo)

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