Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: More corporate earnings to parse


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.

Check Out Line: Consumers cut back on discretionary drinks


Check Out Coca-Cola Enterprises feeling the pinch as cash-strapped consumers buy fewer soft drinks.

The world’s largest Coca-Cola bottler cut its full-year outlook on Thursday, even though third-quarter results met Wall Street’s view.