Retailers, consumers and prices
from Dhanya Skariachan:
Check outa mixed bag of results from the consumer world.
Investors looking for yet another clue to gauge the strength of the U.S. consumer spending recovery might find some solace in online retailer Overstock's results and women's apparel retailer Ann Taylor's strong first-quarter outlook.
Overstock, which sells excess inventories of clothing, accessories, furniture and other items, recorded a 42 percent rise in quarterly sales, while Ann Taylor forecast a same-store sales rise of 11 percent in its latest first quarter.
"Consumers are back in the malls and outlet centers...They are being lured to spend on nonessential goods by pre-planned promotions from retailers and greater confidence in their economic well-being," Wall Street Strategies' Brian Sozzi summed it up.
The U.S. consumer is certainly warming up to spending on more than essentials and maybe a tad more comfortable replenishing their wardrobes with news of an improving economy floating around. But just how far will they go? Will we see a simultaneous improvement in all sectors of retail?
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.
A list of the top 10 companies from a “Hot 100 Retailers list” compiled by Planet Retail for the National Retail Federation showed that while a few companies grew organically, most grew as a result of a merger or acquisition.
Topping the list of companies that grew through a deal was DineEquity, which bought Applebee’s last year.