Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Back to buying

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Check out some strong sales.

Sure, sales are still down at most chains.  Still, anything that’s down less than expected is a good sign in this economy, right?

KOHLS/NORDSTROMSales at Wal-Mart‘s U.S. stores open at least a year jumped 5 percent, topping analysts’ average expectation for a 2.9 percent rise.  And in a sign that improving sales are leading to better profitability, retailers including J.C. Penney, TJX and Kohl’s raised their profit expectations for their just-completed first quarter.

Also, it looks like kids whose parents didn’t have the money for family vacations over spring break spent some of their time in shopping malls.  Some of the biggest surprises came from Aeropostale and The Buckle, which cater to teens.  Both posted double-digit gains in same-store sales.

Also in the basket:

Sara Lee profit beats estimates, helped by U.S. bakery business

Wendy’s/Arby’s posts first-quarter loss

Elizabeth Arden loss narrows

Walgreen’s beauty merchant leaves chain (WWD, subscription required)

(Reuters photo)

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