Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Retailers don’t see yuan move as all bad


yuan1Check out what retailers are thinking about China’s revaluation of the yuan.

Western retailers may pay more for goods they import from China as the yuan appreciates, but the flip side is that the move may create significant selling opportunities by putting more money in the pockets of consumers in the world’s biggest market. 

Executives at the Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit took solace in the idea that any appreciation following China’s weekend statement it would let the yuan appreciate against the dollar would likely be gradual.
They also see room to move more manufacturing out of China and into other countries with lower labor and other costs.
“I don’t think that there is any sense that there is going to be any immediate impact … The open question is how quickly and how far they’ll actually let the currency revalue,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the U.S. National Retail Federation, a retail trade group. 
Some retailers will see margins hit because their goods manufactured in China will be more expensive in dollars or euros. Retail stocks dropped more than the broad market on Monday in the wake of the yuan announcement.
Beyond the retail industry, the yuan’s move is expected to help companies that supply commodities or heavy equipment to China’s fast-growing economy, like Caterpillar, and other foreign brands that source and sell goods locally, such as fast-food operator Yum Brands, the parent of KFC.

Also in China, a new strike at an auto supplier plant forced Toyota to suspend production at its Chinese assembly plant, the latest in a string of labor-related disruptions at foreign-owned manufacturers across the country.

Nothing to do but eat? Click on the Reuters holiday shopping cornucopia!


Attention all eaters (and shoppers)!  USA/
Today, as the scent of turkey and spice wafts through your cozy abode ahead of the big meal, you may feel frustrated that your natural instinct to hunt and gather — remember our forefathers? — is thwarted by store opening hours. 
But never fear! You don’t have to wait for the stroke of midnight, when many retailers will open wide their doors. Assuage your instincts now by clicking on Reuters’ selection of holiday shopping stories, from women shoppers finally buying for themselves to food donations by Wal-Mart. Or how about a look at retailers vying for more full-price sales, or social media providing a boost to sales.
Reuters will be sending its reporters across the country to visit stores, interview shoppers and retailers throughout the long weekend, providing an advance look for investors, and shoppers, of how the crucial holiday sales season is shaping up.

(Reuters photo)

from Raw Japan:

Retailers do the limbo

JAPAN-ECONOMY/For some of Japan's retailers trying to jumpstart consumer spending, setting prices is like doing the limbo: How low can they go?

Japanese retailers reported mostly dismal first-half earnings results, with the industry stuck in a slump as shoppers remain reluctant to open their wallets even as the economy emerges from recession.

from Raw Japan:

Cheap treat keeps Japan sweet

JAPAN-SNACK/What is sticky, shaped like a fish and helps Japanese people shrug off the lingering effects of the country's worst recession since World War Two?

The economy is struggling but sales of a traditional, fish-shaped sweet snack are going along swimmingly, thanks to its low price and auspicious name.

Check Out Line: Warning! Murky outlook ahead for retailers


shop11Check out the latest outlook on October sales at U.S. retailers.

While most industry experts expect a 1.2 percent rise thanks to the weather gods and easy comparisons, the forecast doesn’t really say it all.

For instance, while sales trends have improved from a disastrous October 2008, data on the economy and consumer spending gives mixed signals and indicates shoppers remain cautious.

Check Out Line: Saving money, beating estimates


Check out retailers beating earnings expectations. COSTCO/

Today it is Family Dollar and Costco — both being places where people usually shop to save money.

Family Dollar saw sales rise in the quarter, though sales at stores open at least a year were less than expected as the company has been reorganizing its stores to stock more food and other items that shoppers want as they stick to necessities.

from Raw Japan:

Denim deflation

James Dean smouldered in his, the Marlboro men looked rugged in theirs, and now me and hordes of other Japanese people can feel frugal in ours. Jeans -- practical, durable and with just a hint of  rebelliousness -- are at the centre of a price war in Japan, as struggling retailers look to lure cash-strapped customers back through their doors.

With the country slipping deeper into deflation and its jobless rate rising, shops have for some time been marking down almost everything from bags of cereal,  to laundry detergent and bicycles.

Consumer industry eyes more cost cuts than other sectors


clothing-racksConsumer product manufacturers and retailers have a relatively sharp eye for cost-cutting, speed and expanding into new markets, a report released on Thursday showed.

Sixty two percent of consumer and retail firms see additional opportunities to lower costs in their supply chains, compared with just 48 percent across all sectors, according to Ernst & Young‘s Opportunity in Adversity research.  That means cuts above and beyond the trimming that has already been completed.

Check Out Line: July pain for retailers


Check out the continuing struggle in the retail world.USA/

U.S. retailers reported disappointing sales declines for July, suggesting shoppers are still searching for bargains and basics in the downturn.    

July’s results mark the 11th consecutive month of falling sales at stores open for at least one year, a measure known as same-store sales.

Check Out Line: Want growth? Buy up.


Check Out retail strategy for growth.APPLE/EARNINGS

A list of the top 10 companies from a “Hot 100 Retailers list” compiled by Planet Retail for the National Retail Federation showed that while a few companies grew organically, most grew as a result of a merger or acquisition.

Topping the list of companies that grew through a deal was DineEquity,  which bought Applebee’s last year.