Retailers, consumers and prices
from Raw Japan:
Japan is back in deflation, and price falls look like gathering pace as shoppers' bargain-hunting leads stores to cut prices further to weather the worst retail slump in decades.
Retailers large and small reported hard falls in quarterly profits last week, and the few bright spots were focused on those drawing in thrifty shoppers with their cheap but well-made goods.
Fast Retailing tops the list, as its Uniqlo stores thrive in tough times by selling T-shirts for $10 -- that's cheap here -- and other clothing at similar bargain prices. The company is also seeing strong sales growth at its other basic apparel chain g.u.
g.u., the cut-rate sibling of already-cheap Uniqlo, had a low profile for years but shoppers started flooding in after it slashed prices across the board and started flogging $11 jeans and $5 T-shirts this year.
Check out a government report showing that U.S. consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in May after an upwardly revised flat reading in April.
It was the first gain in spending since February, as government stimulus pushed incomes higher.
from Raw Japan:
Check out more signs of consumers being put in a vise.
Personal income rose 0.1 percent in June, the Commerce Department said. That was the lowest rise since April 2007.
And in fact, if it were not for the economic stimulus checks some consumers received in June, disposable income would have shrunk, the department said.
Meanwhile, costs continued to rise. The personal consumption expenditures price index — an inflation gauge — rose at its highest year-over-year pace since May 1991.
Consumer spending rose 0.6 percent in June, but actually fell 0.2 percent accounting for inflation. So consumers are spending more to get less.
Oh, and one more thing on the gloomy economic front, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc said planned layoffs at U.S. companies rose 26 in July from June.
Also in the basket:
Retailer Boscov’s files bankruptcy, may be sold
Walgreen July same-store sales up
Burani says investor eyeing bid for 15-18 percent stake
Calvin Klein’s latest controversy (WWD)