Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Polo earnings nothing to sneeze at

August 4, 2010

Check out consumer priorities. RESULTS-RALPHLAUREN/

U.S. shoppers may be buying fewer items at the drug store, but that’s not the case at clothing outlet stores.

Drugstore chain operator Walgreen Co posted weaker-than-expected sales for July, hurt by sales of less-expensive generic drugs and as people spent less than-expected on non-prescription items.

Polo Ralph Lauren, meanwhile, posted better-than-expected earnings. Its wholesale and Asian business helped.  But so did sales at outlet stores, which rose 8 percent on a same-store basis.

Data still show the U.S. consumer is skittish about spending. Same-store sales, on average, are expected to rise 3.1 percent in July when major retailers (but not uber-major Wal-Mart) report later Wednesday and on Thursday. But that’s compared with a 5.1 percent decline a year earlier.

Retail is still not firing on all cylinders, but at least store owners are not crying anymore. That may mean they have to buy fewer tissues at Walgreens . Or, maybe they’re ready to replace the Polo shirts they ripped in anguish last year.

Also in the basket:

Barnes & Noble considers selling

Whole Foods stock falls on sales growth fears

A coffee conundrum at Green Mountain (N.Y.Times)

(Reuters photo)

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see