Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: October sales — worst since 2000?


Check out the October monthly sales results due this week.

Think of an adjective for “bad” and that pretty much describes Wall Street analysts’ current view for how the month shaped up. 

Retail chains, like Wal-Mart, Costco and J.C. Penney, will release October results on Wednesday and Thursday, and Thomson Reuters is forecasting a decline of 0.1 percent. 

“If the index actually comes in at -0.1 percent, this would be the weakest same-store sales result ever registered since Thomson Reuters began collecting estimates in 2000,” Thomson Reuters said.

Department stores and specialty retailers are expected to be the worst hit, mitigated only slightly by shoppers seeking bargains at discount chains or drugstores. 

Check Out Line: Wal-Mart meets the analysts


Check out Wal-Mart meeting with analysts as a global recession looms.
The company has done well in 2008 as U.S. consumers flocked to its lower-priced goods while the economy slowed.
But now investors want to see if the company can keep it going in 2009.
Analysts, who meet with the company Monday and Tuesday, want to see if the world’s largest retailer further trims its store opening plans.
Wal-Mart will likely continue to benefit — at least compared with other retailers — as consumers keep a tighter grip on their wallets while the economic slowdown spreads around the world, analysts said.
But they note that when consumers have less money, they also have less money to spend at Wal-Mart.
Also in the basket:
Pilgrim’s lenders extend credit waiver, shares up
Limited to launch Bendon intimate apparel (WWD, subscription required)

Alberto Culver sales beat Wall St view

(Reuters photo)

Wal-Mart: Babies too, are living paycheck to paycheck


walmart.jpgIn one of the more chilling consumer spending anecdotes thus far, a Wal-Mart executive told a lunch crowd in Los Angeles that more of its customers are waiting to have paychecks or government assistance checks in hand before they buy necessities like baby formula.

“We have started to see some very disturbing behavior,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and chief executive of Wal-Mart’s U.S. operations.

Rockin’ with AC/DC…even if you don’t know who they are


black.JPGWhen Wal-Mart noticed its AC/DC  t-shirts were among some of its best-selling, the world’s biggest retailer realized some type of partnership with the rock band might make sense.

Now, as AC/DC prepares for the Oct 20 launch of its latest album, that partnership is coming to life — it goes far beyond shirts.

Sam’s Club tries luring new members with $10 deal


sams.jpgWal-Mart is betting $10 and 10 weeks will draw new members to its Sam’s Club warehouses.

Sam’s Club and Costco work as membership clubs. Shoppers pay an annual fee that allows them to shop in the warehouses and get discounts on everything from diamond rings and big screen TVs, to bulk-sized packages of toilet paper or bottled water.

Wal-Mart’s Black Koi aims to suit Asian shoppers


wmthq.jpgIn Wal-Mart’s rocky attempts to sell trendy clothes a couple years ago it learned some very important lessons — one being that it is difficult to sell a huge volume of skinny jeans to your shoppers when analysts say the average American woman wears a size 12 to 14. 

Since its fashion foray fumble, Wal-Mart has since gone back to the drawing board and is now trying to tailor its stores to meet local demand. 

Wal-Mart takes Manhattan?


acdc.jpgWal-Mart is joining the Manhattan pop-up brigade.
Starting this week in New York City, the retailer will put up a temporary store in Times Square and have a truck roving around the city to celebrate the launch of AC/DC’s new album. 
The rock band has chosen to exclusively sell its latest album, Black Ice, through the discount retailer in the United States, and Wal-Mart will also exclusively sell the AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack video game.
This week, AC/DC fans — and curious onlookers — can visit the Black Ice truck to listen to the AC/DC album in advance of its release on Oct 20.
On Saturday night, at the Times Square MTV store, Wal-Mart and MTV will unveil the “AC/DC Rock Band store” and sell the first copies of the new album.
Wal-Mart joins a long list of retailers who have stormed the Big Apple,  setting up pop-up stores on an island where they have no permanent location.
Last month, Target set up temporary “bodegas” in Manhattan to show off its line of designer merchandise.

 (Reuters photo)

Check Out Line: Tough Month for Retail


Check out disappointing September retail sales

Many U.S. retailers posted worse-than-expected sales at stores open at least a year on Wednesday, and some cut their profit outlooks and said things won’t improve anytime soon as consumers remain shaken by the financial crisis, job worries and the housing slump.

retail12.jpgDiscounter Wal-Mart Stores and warehouse clubs managed the best sales performances in September as shoppers sought bargains on necessities. Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, stood by its third quarter earnings forecast.

Women plan to spend less at department stores, mass merchants


shop.jpgLast month, in a poll conducted by SheSpeaks, a women’s insights marketing firm, almost 50 percent of respondents said they would spend less this holiday. That was up from nearly 30 percent who answered the same way last year.

In a new poll, SheSpeaks asks where shoppers intend to spend fewer dollars. Here are the results from the updated poll:

Browsing for butter, lip balm on


grocery.jpgYou can look but you can’t buy — online at least.

Wal-Mart has started allowing visitors to its website to browse some of the groceries, health and beauty, and pet products that the discount giant sells in its stores.

Instead of being able to buy the items online, browsers can check to see if the products are in stock at a store near them.