Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: April showers bring strong earnings


coke1Check out the latest wave of strong quarterly earnings from the consumer world.

Under Armour, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Estee Lauder, Ford Motor, Energizer Holdings and Group 1 Automotive were among the consumer-focused companies reporting stronger-than-expected profits, supporting the view that a corner has been turned in the economy.

Athletic clothing and shoe maker Under Armour posted higher-than-expected quarterly profit fueled by strong apparel and online sales, and raised its earnings outlook for the full year. The largest bottler of Coke beverages, Coca-Cola Enterprises, with growth in European markets, did the same.

Estee Lauder, the maker of Clinique, M.A.C. and other cosmetics, saw its profit more than double as women treated themselves to small luxuries such as new skin creams. It also raised its full-year outlook.

Ford posted a big profit as North American sales picked up and raised its 2010 outlook to “solidly profitable.”  The U.S. automaker cited market share and pricing gains and also raised its second-quarter North American production plan.

Check Out Line: Whirlpool posts profit ?!?!


whr1Check out the surprise quarterly profit at Whirlpool.

The world’s biggest appliance maker, known for its namesake, Maytag and KitchenAid brands,  was aided in the unexpected good news — analysts were expecting a loss — by its cost-cutting efforts. The company has frozen salaries, reduced its contribution to retirement plans and taken other steps to save money amid the recession.

Despite the profit, sales tumbled 23 percent in the first quarter. Whirlpool also said it now expects 2009 industry unit shipments in the United States and Europe to decline more than previously expected.