Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: More dark clouds in retailing

May 13, 2009

sale1Check out more bad news in the retail sector.

U.S. retail sales slumped for the second straight month, coming in weaker than analysts had expected due to sluggish gasoline and electronic goods purchases. Meanwhile, U.S. foreclosure activity in April jumped to a record high, further pressuring home prices and making a recovery tougher.

Fashion company Liz Claiborne posted a deeper-than-expected quarterly loss as retail sales remained weak in the recession. The owner of Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Lucky Brand and Mexx labels is cutting jobs, scaling back expansion and offering more lower priced items to combat the slowdown.

Meanwhile, General Growth chose a company to provide its bankruptcy financing. The No. 2 U.S. mall owner filed for bankruptcy in April when it could not refinance its maturing loans due to tightness in the credit markets.

Even overseas, retailers in emerging economies are opening special shops for the poor as the recession squeezes the fledgling middle classes.

Some companies are benefiting from the consumer cutbacks, however, as General Mills, a maker of cereal, yogurt and soup, said it expects consumers who have been eating more meals at home to keep doing it even after the economy recovers.

And consumers obviously love their soft drinks as Dr Pepper Snapple reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on demand for value-priced drinks.

Also in the basket:

AnnTaylor sees 1st-qtr better than Wall St view

Macy’s posts wider quarterly net loss

When ‘Local’ Makes It Big (New York Times)

Is ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ Enough? (WWD, subscription required)

(Reuters photo)

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