Retailers, consumers and prices
After their abysmal 2009, nearly half of all U.S. retail chains plan on at least maintaining their number of stores this year, according to a survey released on Thursday by consultancy KPMG and industry group the National Retail Federation.
Far more retailers were planning to open stores than close them, according to the survey of 310 retail industry executives, representing 138 companies, conducted late last year.
Anecdotally, those intentions seem to be playing out, based on what we’ve been hearing from CEOs on conference calls and webcasts.
Most companies have said they plan to open new stores this year, or were at least considering it. Tiffany, for example, is planning to open another 17 locations worldwide in 2010 (it now has 220). And Saks is opening more of its off price Off 5th stores but is closing its Portland store and could shut others.
Check out the latest quarterly earnings to size up.
Williams-Sonoma reported a better-than-expected profit on lower costs and strong holiday sales, and the home goods chain said it sees sales and earnings rising for the year.
The operator of the Pottery Barn, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma chains, which won many shoppers in the holiday season by offering more lower-priced home decor items, also boosted its quarterly dividend by 8.3 percent.
Bargain shoppers turned out en masse across the land on Friday morning to observe Black Friday rituals, while retail temples from Target to Macy’s to Saks slashed prices to get people to do one simple thing: buy more stuff.
But upscale stores — and some their shoppers — seemed to think the Black Friday extravaganza beneath them.
But shares of jewelry chain Tiffany & Co rose 4 percent on Wednesday even though it reported that sales at its U.S. stores open for at least a year (“same-store-sales” in industry parlance) fell 10 percent in the third quarter.
True, much of the hemorrhaging seems to have subsided since last year’s gruesome holiday fourth quarter when U.S. same-store sales fell 33 percent, and November is off to a promising start.
Check out cost cuts at Tiffany.
it is (was?) a recession and people aren’t buying as much expensive jewelry. Sales at Tiffany fell 16 percent in the latest quarter.
But even though profit also fell almost 30 percent, Tiffany shares still rose.
Cost cuts helped Tiffany beat analyst expectations. The company said SG&A expenses fell 14 percent. It’s also slowing its pace of store openings because of the recession.
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s?” Right now, it might be an Egg McMuffin and coffee from the deli on the corner.
Also in the basket:
Consumer spending lifted by “cash-for-clunkers”
L’Oreal H1 beats forecasts, ready to make purchase
Check out hopeful signs that the recession may be abating.
U.S. retail sales rose in May and the number of workers who filed new applications for jobless benefits last week fell for the fourth straight week.
Chief executives from Burberry Group, Hermes, Tiffany, Rolls-Royce and Richmont’s Van Cleef & Arpels are among the many officials who will speak this week at Reuters’ first-ever Global Luxury Summit about what their sector is facing amid a recession that has even well-heeled consumers dialing back spending.
In a new report, Bain & Co predicts sales of luxury goods are expected to drop 10 percent this year and not recover fully until 2012.
The company posted a slightly weaker-than-expected first-quarter profit and said sales dropped 22 percent as shoppers avoided jewelry. Companies like Tiffany and even more-affordable peers such as Zale Corp have seen demand hurt in the past year as consumers focus on buying necessities in the recession.
Tiffany & Co’s fourth-quarter profit handily topped analysts’ estimates, after the luxury jeweler took aggressive steps to tighten its cost structure as even wealthy consumers pare back spending in the recession.
In the past week, Lehman has failed, Merrill Lynch agreed to be acquired by Bank of America, and the government had to step in to keep giant insurer AIG from failing.