Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out the modest gains expected for U.S. retailers in July.
U.S. retailers look set to report a small improvement in same-store sales for July as anxious consumers cut back on spending and big chains returned to discounting to lure them into stores.
Analysts are expecting same-store sales growth of 3.1 percent, compared with a decline of 5.1 percent last year, with department stores and discounters showing the biggest gains, according to Thomson Reuters.
July would be the 11th straight month of improving sales, but analysts warn beating last year’s weak results isn’t anything to crow about and new threats are on the horizon as consumer sentiment in July sagged to its lowest level since November.
“The consumer confidence numbers are hideous, and the promotions we’re seeing in the malls are pretty intense,” said Cowen & Co analyst Laura Champine.
Check out the smorgasbord of quarterly earnings in the consumer sector.
Among the many companies to report earnings on Thursday were P&G, Burger King, OfficeMax, Colgate, Fortune Brands, Bunge, Kellogg, Safeway and Mead Johnson. As usual, there was something for investors of all stripes.
P&G, for example, posted a better-than-expected profit, helped by its biggest volume gain in more than four years. That would please the optimists.
Check out consumer-related companies Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, OfficeMax, Domino’s Pizza and Sally Beauty Holdings all posting better-than-expected quarterly profits despite weak consumer demand.
P&G and Colgate surprised Wall Street on Thursday, as their efforts to hike prices and cut costs helped offset weaker demand in the recession. Both companies, which are rolling out new products to entice thrifty consumers back to stores, forecast sales growth for the year, excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, acquisitions and divestitures.
P&G, the world’s biggest consumer products company and advertiser, wants cash-strapped consumers to keep buying its products. Its sales growth has slowed as shoppers use up what they have in their pantries rather than go out and buy more detergent and deodorant.