Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…


tugofwar1Check out the tale of two cities in the retail world.

We are in the heart of the earnings season and every day brings reports that offer grist for both sides of the argument about whether the recovery has begun.

For the optimists, we have sports clothing and footwear maker Under Armour, which posted a stronger-than-expected quarter and raised its outlook, and yoga clothing and athletic gear maker Lululemon Athletica, which raised its forecast.

Meanwhile, DineEquity, home of the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity breakfast at IHOP, topped Wall Street’s expectations due to lower costs, and better sales and more efficient staffing allowed outdoor gear retailer Cabela’s to post stronger-than-expected earnings.

On the other side of the tug-of-war, pessimists can point to VF Corp. The maker of such brands as the North Face, Vans, Wrangler and Lee missed analysts’ expectations and said consumer spending would remain challenged.

Check Out Line: Jones Apparel tries on strong profits for size


jeans1Check out the strong profits Jones Apparel Group tried on in its latest quarter.

The owner of the Jones New York, Nine West and Anne Klein brands easily outperformed analysts’ expectations in the first quarter thanks to cost cutting and rising demand in its wholesale jeans business.

“I’m okay, you’re okay,” the weak economy version


petrol.jpgApparently, it’s chic to save money. Soaring gas and food prices, falling home values and deteriorating stock portfolios will do that.
According to a survey by WSL Strategic Retail, 56 percent of people said they “feel proud of all the little ways I’ve found to save money and pay for rising food and gas prices.”
It’s good that they feel proud, because 73 percent said they feel they are more careful about shopping now than a year ago.
Meanwhile, 63 percent of women said they avoid going to stores where they know they will overspend. Those stores include specialty clothing retailers (64 percent) and department stores (56 percent)
And of all surveyed, 25 percent said they are buying some new things for the home, since they are spending so much time there.

(Photo: Reuters)