Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: April showers bring strong earnings

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coke1Check out the latest wave of strong quarterly earnings from the consumer world.

Under Armour, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Estee Lauder, Ford Motor, Energizer Holdings and Group 1 Automotive were among the consumer-focused companies reporting stronger-than-expected profits, supporting the view that a corner has been turned in the economy.

Athletic clothing and shoe maker Under Armour posted higher-than-expected quarterly profit fueled by strong apparel and online sales, and raised its earnings outlook for the full year. The largest bottler of Coke beverages, Coca-Cola Enterprises, with growth in European markets, did the same.

Estee Lauder, the maker of Clinique, M.A.C. and other cosmetics, saw its profit more than double as women treated themselves to small luxuries such as new skin creams. It also raised its full-year outlook.

Ford posted a big profit as North American sales picked up and raised its 2010 outlook to “solidly profitable.”  The U.S. automaker cited market share and pricing gains and also raised its second-quarter North American production plan.

Check Out Line: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

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tugofwar1Check out the tale of two cities in the retail world.

We are in the heart of the earnings season and every day brings reports that offer grist for both sides of the argument about whether the recovery has begun.

For the optimists, we have sports clothing and footwear maker Under Armour, which posted a stronger-than-expected quarter and raised its outlook, and yoga clothing and athletic gear maker Lululemon Athletica, which raised its forecast.

from Left field:

Ah nuts! Under Armour recalls athletic cups

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groin1Prepare to flinch.

Under Armour got the kind of attention any sports-loving company would rather avoid after it recalled more than 200,000 athletic cups on fears they could break if hit and result in serious injury.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the company received five reports of cups breaking, including an injury involving "cuts and bruising."

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