Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: More holiday reality checks from retailers

November 20, 2009

anntayCheck out more retailers reminding Wall Street that all is not well on Main Street.

On Friday morning,  AnnTaylor Stores reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue and gave a cautious forecast for the current holiday quarter.

The operator of the Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor LOFT chains said its fourth-quarter sales would be slightly below those of the third quarter, and that its gross margins would be lower as well, due to heightened promotions it expects to use to drive sales throughout the holiday shopping period.

Meanwhile, Foot Locker late on Thursday reported third-quarter results that missed Wall Street expectations. The athletic shoe retailer cited lower than expected U.S. sales.

On a conference call on Friday morning, Foot Locker said it expected same-store sales for the holiday fourth quarter to be negative.

Foot Locker and AnnTaylor join a chorus of retailers ranging from Macy’s to Kohl’s to Wal-Mart that have warned investors in recent weeks that the holiday shopping season may be a little less merry than the stock market is expecting as consumers continue to show a reluctance to spend.

Or as Doug Scovanner, the CFO of Target, said quite pointedly earlier this week: “In our view, sell-side analysts are somewhat more optimistic across most of our industry than we believe is warranted in light of the harsh realities of the current environment.”

Also in the basket:

US shoppers going green despite struggling economy

Philip Morris ordered to pay $300 million to smoker

P&G repurchasing shares, quiet on potential deals

Ferrero, Hershey would likely break up Cadbury: report

(Photo: Reuters)

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