Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

from Summit Notebook:

Sleek new look for Wal-Mart’s Great Value


Wal-Mart's Great Value private brand is getting a makeover just in time for its sweet sixteen. 

Great Value, which first hit stores in 1993, is being relaunched with more than 80 new products and packaging that "pops" according to Andrea Thomas, who helped oversee the relaunch and spoke to the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit in Chicago.

Want to take a look?

Here is a picture of Wal-Mart's Great Value broccoli, pulled from its website:







Here is a picture Wal-Mart provided to Reuters, showing us what the new Great Value packaging will look like: 


Check Out Line: There’s a lot to digest …


Check Out the lineup at Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit 2009.USA-COSTCO/

Executives from various food firms are slated to speak at the Reuters Summit in Chicago beginning today, with the first handful of executives from companies such as Wal-Mart Stores, Campbell Soup and Hormel.

With the economy front and center, executives are expected to discuss the tug of war to keep food prices at current levels, even as they fight hard to entice shoppers to buy their products on a tight household budget.

Retaining the “new” Wal-Mart Moms


In the first two months of this year, Wal-Mart increased its share of the U.S. retail market by more than a full share point compared with same time a year ago, according to a new study from retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners. (Read about their strong February sales results.) 

In January and February Wal-Mart’s U.S. business rang up $44.64 billion of sales — representing 9.7 percent of total estimated U.S. retail sales, excluding auto/food services. That is up from last year, when its January and February U.S. sales were $42.02 billion, or 8.6 percent of total U.S. sales, according to CGP.

Check Out Line: Wal-Mart Wins


samsclubCheck out the benefit of lower fuel prices on consumer spending.

Wal-Mart Stores continues to stand out as consumers go for bargains in the recession. The top retailer led other chains with a better-than-expected 5.1 percent rise in sales at stores open at least a year in February, and announced it was boosting its dividend.

Relief from high gasoline prices is giving consumers more money to spend on discretionary items, Wal-Mart said.

Just how wonderful is your brand?


USA/Just how “wonderful” consumers think your brand is can help your stock price, especially in a recession, according to a study by market research agencies Kadence, Brand Care and So What Research.

The study looked at consumer perceptions of 650 leading U.S. brands and found there is a link between the affection consumers hold for a brand — or the “wonderfulness” of the brand – and its stock performance.  

Check Out Line: No Easy button for OfficeMax


Check out OfficeMax probably wishing it had one of those Easy buttons that rival Staples is always talking about.OFFICEMAX/

The office supplies retailer reported a fourth-quarter loss, compared with a profit a year ago. Excluding items, it reported adjusted earnings that missed Wall Street estimates by 16 cents per share.

Check Out Line: Wal-Mart beats Wall Street’s view


Check Out Wal-Mart’s fourth-quarter results.WALMART/

The world’s largest retailer posted a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street’s expectations, as it enticed U.S. consumers trying to conserve cash in the recession. The company’s performance was “exceptionally strong” in the fourth quarter and through the year, its chief executive Mike Duke said in a statement, adding that he expects the momentum to continue.

Wal-Mart has outdone its competition in recent months, taking advantage of consumers’ desires to pay as little as possible for essentials such as food and gas as they face job losses, weak home values and tighter access to credit.

Wal-Mart wants a bite of Twilight


twfans2Twilight was a big box office hit. 

Now Wal-Mart hopes the teen vampire sensation will amp up its sales.

The Twilight movie DVD is slated for nationwide release March 21.

Instead of simply selling the DVD in its electronics department, Wal-Mart is opening “Twilight Shops” within each of its 3,500 U.S. discount stores starting in mid-March. 

Wal-Mart will be selling the Twilight DVD movie and CD soundtrack along with Twilight clothes, posters, jewelry, bags and key chains. 

Free tax prep (for some) coming to a Wal-Mart near you


MARKETS-FOREX/Last year, Wal-Mart sales got a boost after the U.S. government mailed billions of dollars in tax rebate cash to consumers to help stimulate the economy.

This year, the Feds are yet again looking for ways to stimulate the economy, but Wal-Mart may have come up with a way to get more cash into its shoppers’ hands.

Check Out Line-Retail sector racks up more bad news


Check out the not-so-chipper news in the retail world.

bk1Restaurant chain Burger King reported lower profits and cut its full-year forecast due to the currency fluctuations, while cosmetics and perfume companies Estee Lauder and Elizabeth Arden rang up lower, albeit better-than-expected, profits and said they would cut jobs.

Indeed, retailers overall posted the second weakest monthly same-store sales performance since Thomson Reuters began tracking the data in 2000 as heavy job losses, weakness in the U.S. housing sector and the still-tight credit markets have many consumers closing their wallets.