Retailers, consumers and prices
Check 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 the lack of interest in pens and purses.
Retailers as varied as Coach and Office Depot reported lower quarterly sales, continuing to show that despite some forecasts that the recession may be at an end, consumers are cutting back on just about everything.
Coach sales fell 1 percent and profit, excluding one-time items, dropped 21 percent.
Sales at Office Depot fell 22 percent and the company posted a wider than expected loss, sending its shares down 14 percent.
Oh, and it isn’t just office supplies and fancy bags consumers are cutting back on.
Grocery chain operator Supervalu reported a 4.5 percent drop in quarterly sales as it cut prices to try to keep consumers from going to stores like Walmart.
Economists are looking for “green shoots” everywhere these days, but the consumer still doesn’t seem to be buying it … or anything.
Also in the basket:
CIT courts creditors, plans large debt exchange
Under Armour posts surprise second-quarter profit
PepsiAmericas Q2 profit beats estimates, ups FY outlook
Italian group makes offer for Christian Lacroix (N.Y. Times)
Check Out Staples saying its third-quarter profit will top Wall Street estimates and backing its long-term forecast, all in the midst of a global economic crisis.
Staples is holding a conference today with investors. They will no doubt be wondering how the world’s largest office supply retailer plans to convince small business owners and consumers to buy more office supplies in a troubled economy that has made them cut back buying computers, printers and copiers in favor of smaller-ticket items like ink, toner and paper.
Giving out your Social Security number on national television is bound to attract trouble. But that hasn’t stopped Lifelock Chief Executive Todd Davis from flashing his social – 457-55-5462 – on television, the Internet, and print ads.
Davis says he’s so certain Lifelock will protect your identity and preserve your credit he gives out his social security number to prove it. He’s gotten around 100 dings on his credit, including people trying to get loans under aliases like Jabba T. Hutt.
Second-quarter profit at cosmetics firm Avon Products Inc more than doubled, as demand in Latin America and other overseas markets more than made up for sagging U. S. results.
Major office supply retailers–Staples, Office Depot and OfficeMax–are offering some basic school supplies for a penny and have marked down other items to give consumers relief from higher gas and food prices and to try to lure shoppers over the next couple of months.
Check out more woe for the office supply sector, specifically Office Depot
The retailer warned that same-store sales in North America fell nearly 10 percent during the second quarter and said operating margins would fall more than expected as business conditions worsened. The news sparked a sharp sell-off in the stock as well as those of rivals Staples and OfficeMax.
Recent months have been tough for Office Depot, which earlier this year faced a proxy challenge from a shareholder group seeking to oust Chief Executive Steve Odland from the board. With the weaker second quarter results in view, one analyst raised the possibility that management changes could be in the offing.
Check out a brewing tussle at Office Depot
The office-products retailer is fighting back one shareholder’s attempt to nominate two directors to replace both its current and former CEO on the board.
Shareholder Woodbridge Group said it planned to nominate an ex-president of Office Depot and and a former president of rival Staples as board members in hopes of revitalizing the retailer, which has been bruised by the economic slowdown that has led small business customers to cut back.