Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Silver lining in retail land?

February 4, 2010

SHOPPERSCheck out the January same-store sales results at U.S. retailers.

Same-store sales for last month moved into positive territory from last year’s decline as many chains avoided drastic clearance sales and shoppers redeemed holiday gift cards. Many retailers reported sales that beat analysts’ forecasts, and Macy’s, TJX Cos (TJ Maxx, Marshalls among others) and American Eagle Outfitters raised earnings outlooks, while Bon-Ton Stores said its quarterly profit would be at or near the high end of its outlook.

Analysts on average had expected sales at stores open at least one year to rise 2.5 percent in January, according to Thomson Reuters data, rebounding from a 5.7 percent drop in January 2009. 

The figures could mark the fifth consecutive monthly sales increase after a year’s worth of declines during the recession, as consumers slowly return to spending and retailers lower prices to match a more circumspect shopper. 

On the earnings front, it was the usual mixed bag. Burger King posted a better-than-expected profit, Clorox raised its 2010 profit outlook, and foodmakers Kellogg and Sara Lee forecast 2010 earnings above expectations. Avon Products posted a higher profit, while Pilgrim’s Pride, which exited bankruptcy in December, reported a profit.

On the other hand, Bunge reported a loss, and Reynolds American posted weaker-than expected earnings.

Also in the basket:

Wal-Mart, Target seek big returns in small stores

Toyota’s $2 bln recall hit to keep it in the red

FTC warns Wal-Mart, Target, others on bamboo labeling

Video game makers look for 2010 turnaround

(Reuters photo)

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