Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

This Bud’s No Longer for Wall Street

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budweiser1.jpgIs it Last Call for Wall Street at Anheuser-Busch?

On Anheuser-Busch’s conference call Wednesday to discuss second-quarter earnings, the tone was more like a wake than the tailgate parties of old.

Well, previous calls never really had galloping Clydesdalessinging frogs or a hard-partying Bull Terrier. But quarter after quarter, investors and analysts from both the ”buy” and ”sell” sides would still dial in after the close of New York trading for the latest color on beer sales.

Wednesday’s get-together — likely the second-to-last one before the brewer gets swallowed by Belgian brewer InBev – was different. 

First, the earnings were released at 11:12 a.m. ET, (instead of the usual 2:30 p.m.), just as Wall Street’s beverage analysts were listening to PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi , on her conference call, discuss ways the company is changing its business to cope with the current economic uncertainty.

Check Out Line: Macy’s posts sort-of profit

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macys.jpgCheck out Macy’s profit, or loss, depending on how you count.
 
The department store operator posted a $59 million loss in the first quarter, hurt by a drop in sales and the costs of restructuring.
 
So of course its stocks jumped.
 
Restructuring charges are seen by the investment community as “one-time items” and are generally disregarded when looking at how well a company did in any given quarter. 
 
So without ”one-time items” Macy’s posted a profit of 2 cents a share from continuing operations. That was better than the 2-cents-a-share loss that analysts expected.
 
Macy’s also affirmed its forecast for a profit of $1.85 to $2.15 a share for the year, possibly a sign that things at least are not getting worse for the company, which, like most department store operators, has been hurt by the slumping U.S. economy.
 
Of course, that forecast excludes “one-time” items.
 
Also in the basket:
 
Barney’s Socol quits, no clear successor (WWD)
 
Benetton Q1 profit, sales up, outlook confirmed

(Photo: Reuters)

Check Out Line: Retail earnings optimism

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cash.jpgCheck out things looking a little better in retail?
 
Ann Taylor raised its forecast for first-quarter earnings, citing improved results at its LOFT chain and stronger expense control.
 
This comes a few days after many retailers posted better-than-expected sales in April and could mark the start of a trend.
 
Goldman Sachs said the better April could lead to modest first-quarter earnings beats.
 
“This will be particularly evident across the department store sub sector as most management teams reduced their earnings outlook post March results, which fell short of plan. Kohl’s has already kick started this trend stating EPS would ‘exceed’ previous 40 cents to 42 cents guidance. We suspect J.C. Penney will follow suit, beating management’s 50-cent forecast … given high end of plan sales,” Goldman said in a research note.
 
Retail earnings get going in earnest this week with reports from Wal-Mart, Macy’s, J.C. Penney and others.
 
Also in the basket:
 
April retail sales barely budged: SpendingPulse
  
Luxury brands Prada, Ferragamo risk competing IPOs

(Photo: Reuters)

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