Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out signs that consumers are getting more comfortable with spending and, at times, even splurging.
Estee Lauder reported a far better-than-expected 62 percent jump in quarterly profit and boosted its full-year forecast as consumers began to splurge on cosmetics after a year-long slide in sales. Results were helped by strong growth in Asia, new products, and a better-than-expected performance in airport stores and in the United States.
Under Armour, the maker of athletic clothing and footwear, reported an 83 percent rise in its holiday-quarter profit helped by gains in its apparel business. It said it now expects 2010 revenue and earnings to grow 10 percent to 12 percent, up from its prior range that called for a rise in the high-single to low-double-digits.
Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive posted better-than-expected quarterly results and boosted sales of their brand name products in the last few months by convincing consumers to spend a little more with a bigger investment in advertising. Profit at P&G, the maker of Tide laundry detergent and Pampers diapers, fell less than anticipated. A higher profit at toothpaste and dish-soap maker Colgate was even stronger than analysts expected.
Check Out Altria Group’s $10.4 billion offer to buy UST Inc.
While rumors of the deal were reported last week, Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, issued its official offer on Monday to buy UST, the largest U.S. smokeless tobacco maker, for $69.50 a share in cash plus $1.3 billion in debt on Monday.
Buying UST, which also owns Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, would be a quick way for Altria to reach into the growing smokeless tobacco market, as it seeks ways to diversify from the declining U.S. cigarette market.