Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Surprise, surprise, a discount retailer is doing well

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dg1Check out the strong quarterly profit at discount retailer Dollar General.

The company, which prices most of its merchandise below $10, posted a stronger-than-expected profit thanks to bargain-seeking consumers who spent more per visit. Company executives talked of building sales momentum during the quarter and sales results in the current three-month period were encouraging.

As a result, Dollar General, which has received a boost from high U.S. unemployment rates, raised its full-year earnings forecast.

U.S. consumer spending rose in July at the strongest pace in four months, offering hope that consumers will be able to keep contributing to a modest economic recovery.

Meanwhile, overseas the message was mixed as Carrefour, Europe’s top retailer, said the summer sales trend was mixed in Europe but demand was holding up in emerging markets. Company executives acknowledged sales trends in Europe in August were slightly disappointing after a satisfactory July. 

Check Out Line: Value is still in

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mcd1Check out the consumer thriftiness still reflected in corporate announcements.

McDonald’s, the world’s largest hamburger chain, posted a higher quarterly profit that beat analysts’ expectations.

It also said April same-store sales were trending at least as strong or better than first-quarter sales in every part of the world.

Check Out Line: Circuit City starting to connect?

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schoonover.jpgCheck out the tiny profit at Circuit City.
 
The electronics retailer surprised investors by not posting a loss in the fourth quarter. The company had a $4.85 million profit, even though sales fell 7.7 percent.
 
Faced with a push by investor Mark Wattles to oust chief executive Philip Schoonover  (pictured), the company is trying to simplify store operating procedures and sell more add-on services like home theater installations and warranties.
 
But the company is still facing what it calls the worst macroeconomic environment in years. And now that it has completed a store overhaul, the company needs to show it can improve customer service before Circuit City can show some juice.
 
Also in the basket:
 
New Nestle CEO faces billionaire’s dilemma
 
Retailers’ costs rise faster than prices-Carrefour
 
Signet year profit down, outlook tough
 
Candid Camera: Trove of videos vexes Wal-Mart (WSJ, subscription required)

 (Photo: Reuters)

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