Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Signs of stability at Coach

April 21, 2009

coach1Check out signs of stabilizing demand at U.S. handbag and accessories maker Coach.

The leather goods company posted a lower quarterly profit, but said business was stabilizing at its North American stores at pre-December levels. The company has refrained from deep profit-sapping discounts in a strategy that has preserved the status of its brand but hurt sales.

Chief Executive Lew Frankfort said consumers have some optimism that the worst of the uncertainty is behind them and Coach has greater visibility into how shoppers will behave in the coming months.

Coca-Cola also reported a lower profit, but its results met analysts’ expectations. That came a day after rival PepsiCo posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit and offered $6 billion to buy the remaining stakes in its two largest bottlers as it seeks to better control its distribution and cut costs.

Signs have been mixed as some companies still point to pressure on consumers, and even top Federal reserve policy makers have different opinions.

Also in the basket:

Chili’s parent Brinker posts quarterly profit

Wal-Mart China management restructuring hits snag

Target Corp board seat seeker calls for single ballot

Pepsi move could shake up U.S. drinks industry

Food Firms Cook Up Ways to Combat Rare Sales Slump (WSJ)

A New Approach: Spring Markdowns Sprout Early (WWD, subscription required)

(Reuters photo)

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