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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: More corporate earnings to parse

August 17, 2010

walmart1Check out the latest raft of quarterly earnings.

With investors and denizens of Main Street alike dissecting various government reports and company press releases for hints on the relative strength or weakness of the U.S. economy, the latest slew of quarterly earnings arrived to parse, including better-than-expected results from Wal-Mart Stores and Home Depot.

Wal-Mart posted a better-than-expected¬†profit helped by cost cuts and growth in international markets as sales at U.S. stores open at least a year fell. The world’s largest retailer also raised its full-year profit forecast.

Home Depot, the largest home improvement chain, reported a slightly better-than-expected profit on tighter cost controls, but sales missed analysts’ expectations as consumers curbed purchases in the grim U.S. economy. The results prompted the company to boost its profit outlook and shave its sales forecast for the year.

Apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch also posted a profit that topped expectations as the company’s discounts drew customers and lifted sales, while Danish brewer Carlsberg’s higher profit surprised and it raised its 2010 outlook.

Even for those in negative territory, there were silver linings as apparel maker Perry Ellis said it expects to post a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss and earn more than it had previously forecast for fiscal 2011. Department store Saks reported a smaller-than-expected loss due to an uptick in luxury spending and its ability to sell more items at full price.

Also in the basket:

MGA Entertainment alleges Mattel stole trade secrets

AOL to launch 500 more local sites this year

Frugality in Fashion Amid Economic Slump (WWD, subscription required)

(Reuters photo)

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