Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Whirlpool profit hits happy note

April 26, 2010

whirlpool1Check out the blowout earnings by Whirlpool.

The maker of Maytag and KitchenAid appliances posted a quarterly profit that left analysts’ expectations in the dirt. Try $2.51 a share compared with Wall Street’s estimate for $1.33. People, when a company tops expectations to the tune of $1.18, that’s crazy.

The strong results, not surprisingly, prompted the world’s largest appliance maker to raise its full-year outlook as well as its forecast for 2010 U.S. industry shipments.

The company had been hurt by the sluggish economy and weak housing market in North America — its largest market — but increasing demand for energy-efficient products and a federal stimulus program are luring shoppers back.

Not to be outdone, cigarette maker Lorillard posted a stronger-than-expected profit, helped by higher volumes and market share gains as U.S. smokers chose less expensive brands.

On the other hand, Alberto Culver, which makes TRESemme, Albert VO5 and other shampoos and personal-care products, reported a smaller-than-expected profit, hurt by a plant closure and a switch to new software in the United States that has created customer service problems.

Pessimists remain as a Harris Poll showed many Americans remain gloomy about the economy.

Also in the basket:

CKE accepts Apollo bid: terminates THLee pact

Hertz to buy Dollar Thrifty for $1.2 bln

Youth Among Keys to Luxury Rebound (WWD, subscription required)

(Reuters photo)

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