Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out the latest quarterly earnings for signs of a recovery.
Whirlpool and PepsiCo both reported better-than-expected quarterly profits and pointed to improving trends, lending hope to optimists that the economy is slowly improving.
While citing continuing macroeconomic challenges, PepsiCo, which makes Tropicana juice, Frito-Lay snacks and Quaker Oats in addition to its namesake cola, posted stronger-than-expected results and affirmed its earnings per share growth target for the fiscal year.
“We are benefiting from both the acquisition of our anchor bottlers earlier this year and from improving trends across our global business. As planned, we have stepped up incremental investments around the world to capitalize on untapped consumer demand,” Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Whirlpool beat profit and sales estimates on strong demand in Asia and Latin America, prompting the world’s largest appliance maker to raise its outlook for the year.
The world’s biggest appliance maker used cost cuts to offset weak sales as it reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit. Whirlpool also raised its full-year profit outlook, citing downsizing and — yes, you guessed it — cost cuts as demand remains uncertain in many markets.
Sales at appliance makers like Whirlpool, known for its Maytag and KitchenAid brands, and Sweden’s Electrolux have suffered in the global economic slowdown as consumers trim spending on items not deemed essential.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, appliance maker Frigidaire surveyed nearly 1,200 American moms to learn how they spend their time.
It turns out mom spends more time cooking than canoodling with her partner and four times as much time washing dishes as showering. Time caring for the family pet nearly equals her time talking with Dad. Not the kind of family time she wants, right?
Check out the weak sales week.
Chain store sales posted their weakest year-over-year increase in five years in the latest week, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers-UBS index. Sales were up only 0.5 percent in the week ended March 29, the worst performance since April 5, 2003.
One culprit: weak sales of spring clothes.
In a survey taken for ICSC-UBS on March 27- March 30, 59 percent of consumers said they cut back on spring apparel purchases or eliminated buying it altogether.
Just over one-third of people surveyed cited budget constraints, while 10 percent cited weather.
“For the month, ICSC expects industry comparable-store sales to be flat to down slightly on a year-over-year unadjusted basis,” ICSC Chief Economist Michael Niemira said.
ICSC now estimates Target same-store sales to be down 1 percent in March, Kohl’s to be down 8 percent, J.C. Penney to be down 11 percent and Wal-Mart to be up 1 percent.
Also in the basket:
Talbots sees loss in 2008
Electrolux says to make Q1 operating loss