Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: More quarterly earnings to parse

April 13, 2010

louis1Check out the latest raft of earnings for clues on the U.S. economy’s health.

LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury group, posted a forecast-beating 13 percent increase in same-store sales, helped by a strong rebound in the United States and Europe.

The Paris-based maker of Louis Vuitton handbags and Hennessy cognac said its wines, spirits, watches and jewelry businesses — all hard hit by the downturn — had benefited from improving consumer spending.

Echoing those thoughts, the Deloitte Consumer Spending Index moved upward in March following two consecutive months of decline. The improvement was driven by an improving job market, declining tax rates and slowing declines in home values.

“Improvements in home prices and employment could potentially fuel stronger consumer spending activity in the months to come,” Deloitte Research chief economist Carl Steidtmann said in a statement.

Meanwhile, women’s apparel retailer Talbots posted a narrow quarterly profit as leaner inventories boosted profit margins and full-price selling overshadowed a sales decline.

Spice maker McCormick said it expects earnings per share to rise 9 to 11 percent in 2011 and beyond, helped by cost cuts, as well as 4 to 6 percent growth in net sales.

U.S. agribusiness giant and trading firm Cargill saw earnings from continuing operations nearly double from last year, when the global recession hurt the company.

Cargill, a leading grain exporter, ethanol producer and top energy trader, said growth in the quarter was broad based, with all five business segments seeing improvement. The company cited the late, large North American harvest for the lift in its agriculture services business.

Also in the basket:

Avon suspends China staff on bribery investigations

Consumer Reports calls Lexus SUV “safety risk”

Starbucks eyes Japan growth, India market

Puma to make shoe boxes a thing of the past

Signet names new CFO

(Reuters photo)

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