Retailers, consumers and prices
Check 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.
Check out the return of the shopper. Even at Abercrombie & Fitch.
Several U.S. retailers showed off strong sales gains — albeit over an ugly February 2009 — despite the winter storms that bashed the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and other parts of the United States.
It’s too early to declare a major rebound yet, analysts said, but the sales gains signal that consumers are heading back to stores for more than just the essentials these days.
Check out how teen retailers have miscalculated demand this holiday season and are resorting to steep discounts to get savvy young shoppers into their stores.
A visit this week to a Bay Area mall by Reuters reporter Alexandria Sage found that teen retailers such as American Eagle as well as Abercrombie & Fitch and its Hollister chain, have been reduced to slashing prices and offering “buy one, get one for half off” promos to salvage a holiday season that was supposed to be merrier than last year.
Check out the lackluster start to the holiday season for major U.S. retailers.
The Thomson Reuters same-store sales index rose 0.5 percent in November, while Wall Street experts had been expecting 2.1 percent growth, and 81 percent of companies missed expectations.
Talk about shaking Wall Street’s optimistic belief that this year’s holiday shopping season would be off to a much stronger start than in 2008, when the global economy seemed to be in free fall.
Check out the latest news on U.S. retail sales.
The trend was pretty much the same as it has been lately — most chains posted declines in August sales at stores open at least a year, or same-store sales.
However, many declines were not all that bad and there were a handful of increases, which could be a sign that consumers are really back to shopping.
Check out the latest sales reports, which show that consumers are still cutting back on discretionary spending as they shift to discounters for the basics. Granted, that’s not exactly news anymore, but some of this morning’s sales tell us that even the discounters are starting to feel the heat.
“Sales for the month of May were somewhat below our expectations,” chief executive officer of Target, Greg Steinhafel, said in a statement.
Check out Abercrombie & Fitch shares getting upgraded by one stock analyst and downgraded by another in the same day.
Friedman Billings Ramsey analyst Adrienne Tennant upgraded Abercrombie shares to “outperform” as she expects the company’s change of heart regarding discounts should stem market share losses.
Put this in the “No press is bad press” file: We all know the trendy Abercrombie & Fitch clothing brand is a favorite of teenage Americans and European and Japanese tourists. Apparently it’s a favorite of alleged drug lords, too.
Vicente Carrillo Leyva, a suspected Mexican drug trafficker, was hauled in front of the cameras last week after his arrest — wearing a natty white track suit with the Abercrombie logo prominently displayed on his chest. The accused leader of the Juarez cartel was seized while jogging.
No word on what effect the arrest will have on sales of white A&F track suits.