Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Campbell glad you had a V8

September 3, 2010

CAMPBELLCheck out Campbell Soup Co’s quarterly results.

Given the unrelenting, sticky, hot weather that has plagued much of the United States this summer (New York has had its hottest summer on record), it’s hardly shocking that Campbell reported a fall in soup sales.  Even so, it’s not just the heat that’s weighing on Campbell’s soup results: Lower-priced store-brands  have been ladling away sales for some time now.

But Campbell got some help from people drinking more V8 juice drinks. (Perhaps enough people have smacked their foreheads and told themselves, “I coulda had a V8!”)

Still, the company is not too optimistic about its future sales given the weak economy: It forecast sales growth below its long-term target.

Similarly Walgreen reported disappointing same-store sales, again, as it continues to take a beating from generic drug introductions and a drop in customer visits.

It’s true that August’s same-store sales results were encouraging - 27 top retailers (excluding the behemoth, Wal-Mart) reported August same-store sales that rose 3.3 percent to beat Wall Street’s forecast of 2.5 percent.  But these days, it seems any good news on the consumer front is quickly followed by some fresh scary news. U.S. payrolls fell again last month. (The optimists will say that the decline was more moderate than expected, but a drop is still a drop.)

Also in the basket:

- John Lewis shoppers shrug off austerity fears
- Caution pushes down Canadian consumer confidence
- Mattel shares drop sharply in premarket, then recover

(Reuters photo)

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