Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out the latest quarterly earnings for signs of a recovery.
Whirlpool and PepsiCo both reported better-than-expected quarterly profits and pointed to improving trends, lending hope to optimists that the economy is slowly improving.
While citing continuing macroeconomic challenges, PepsiCo, which makes Tropicana juice, Frito-Lay snacks and Quaker Oats in addition to its namesake cola, posted stronger-than-expected results and affirmed its earnings per share growth target for the fiscal year.
“We are benefiting from both the acquisition of our anchor bottlers earlier this year and from improving trends across our global business. As planned, we have stepped up incremental investments around the world to capitalize on untapped consumer demand,” Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Whirlpool beat profit and sales estimates on strong demand in Asia and Latin America, prompting the world’s largest appliance maker to raise its outlook for the year.
The maker of Maytag and KitchenAid appliances posted a quarterly profit that left analysts’ expectations in the dirt. Try $2.51 a share compared with Wall Street’s estimate for $1.33. People, when a company tops expectations to the tune of $1.18, that’s crazy.
The strong results, not surprisingly, prompted the world’s largest appliance maker to raise its full-year outlook as well as its forecast for 2010 U.S. industry shipments.
Check out the better-than-expected results being served up by food companies.
Chocolate maker Hershey posted a quarterly profit above analysts’ expectations, said it was on target to meet its 2010 earnings forecast and boosted its dividend. The company also said it would boost advertising to try to sell more candy, including Almond Joy and York peppermint patties.
Meanwhile, Archer Daniels Midland, one of the largest processors of corn and soybeans, saw its profit slip 2 percent, but the results still topped analysts’ forecasts, and Pepsi Bottling also topped Wall Street’s view as productivity improvements offset a dip in sales. Fruit and vegetable producer Dole Food reported a higher fourth-quarter profit and paid down debt.
The world’s biggest appliance maker used cost cuts to offset weak sales as it reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit. Whirlpool also raised its full-year profit outlook, citing downsizing and — yes, you guessed it — cost cuts as demand remains uncertain in many markets.
Sales at appliance makers like Whirlpool, known for its Maytag and KitchenAid brands, and Sweden’s Electrolux have suffered in the global economic slowdown as consumers trim spending on items not deemed essential.
The world’s biggest appliance maker, known for its namesake, Maytag and KitchenAid brands, was aided in the unexpected good news — analysts were expecting a loss — by its cost-cutting efforts. The company has frozen salaries, reduced its contribution to retirement plans and taken other steps to save money amid the recession.
Despite the profit, sales tumbled 23 percent in the first quarter. Whirlpool also said it now expects 2009 industry unit shipments in the United States and Europe to decline more than previously expected.
Check out the falling profits at Whirlpool and Hasbro.
Whether the ovens you make cook with gas like Whirlpool’s or with a light bulb like Hasbro’s Easy-Bake, it’s hard to make much money when people don’t want to buy anything.
Whirlpool profit fell 76 percent in the fourth quarter as sales in North America dropped 18 percent. The world’s biggest appliance maker also said it expected industrywide shipments of appliances to fall 10 percent in 2009.
Hasbro, which makes littler appliances, as well as G.I. Joes and Transformers, saw a 30 percent drop in quarterly profit as shoppers bought fewer toys for the holidays.
The company plans to focus on cutting costs this year, as are many, if not most companies in the United States.
But wait, is that G.I. Joe coming to the rescue? A G.I. Joe movie this year is expected to help lift sales of the action figures and other toys Hasbro sells under those names.
Perhaps they can work some kitchen scenes into the script and help out Whirlpool. C’mon, at least a trash compactor to deal with the bad guys?
Also in the basket:
McDonald’s same-store sales rise
Saks upends luxury market with strategy to slash prices (WSJ)
(Reuters photo from 2002)
The beaten-down appliance sector got a shot in the arm on Black Friday as many consumers bought new washers for their laundry rooms, one spot survey shows.
Check out the Whirlpool of woe.
Five thousand. That’s the number of jobs Whirlpool plans to cut by the end of next year as it faces falling sales in North America and a potential global recession.
Appliance makers have already been hammered by the U.S. housing collapse. Now the credit crunch is likely to keep demand down, the world’s largest appliance maker said.
“The global credit crisis has had a profound negative impact on what was already a weakening and very fragile global economy,” Whirlpool Chief Executive Jeff Fettig (pictured left) said in a statement.
Some of the job cuts had already been announced. Others were new. They all add to a slew of job cuts announced by corporate America in recent weeks.
That creates a spiral of people not being able to buy the goods the manufacturers make, which could cause manufacturers to cut more jobs as the economy keeps swirling down the drain.
Also in the basket:
Sam’s Club opening new store called Mas Club
Retailers slash Blu-ray player prices (WSJ)