Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out how high March retail sales bounced off last year’s weak results — and how April sales are expected to falter.
March same-store sales topped expectations for retailers ranging from teen-focused stores to discounters and department stores, helped by an early Easter, warmer weather and a recovering job market.
But some retail executives rained on the parade, saying that some consumers had shifted their shopping into March due to the earlier timing of the holiday and that sales in April could suffer.
“March was a very solid month, but I think there’s more than enough hints that the American consumer is still fully not back,” said Brean Murray, Carret & Co analyst Eric Beder. “We’re going to see, barring a miracle, materially weaker numbers for April.”
Check out how a little debt can help that bottom line.
Pier 1 posted a profit on Thursday, even though sales fell 9 percent overall and 7.5 percent at stores open at least a year.
How’d they do it? Well, recording a $48 million gain on the repurchase of debt was surely a help. Even excluding that gain, the loss per share topped analysts’ forecasts. Inventory was down a bit and while sales fell, the decline was smaller than Wall Street anticipated.
Check out the lackluster results that are expected for U.S. retailers.
Excluding the 3 percent gain forecast for Wal-Mart, March retail sales are expected to fall 4.7 percent, matching the results in February. Value retailers like Wal-Mart seem to be the only area holding up in the recession.
“Consumers are under significant pressure and we don’t anticipate that changing any time soon,” Morningstar analyst Brady Lemos said. “We, like most analysts, have a pretty pessimistic view for the foreseeable future, unfortunately.”