Posted tagged ‘Retail Sales’

Ford Posts Profit of Nearly $1 Billion

November 2, 2009

Ford, the only automaker to dodge direct government aid and bankruptcy court, surprised investors this morning with a net income of nearly $1 billion in the third quarter.

Where did that come from???

From the Associated Press:

The automaker said Monday earnings were fueled by U.S. market share gains, cost cuts and the Cash for Clunkers program, which drew flocks of buyers to showrooms this summer. Ford’s shares rose 68 cents, or 9.8 percent, to $7.68 in morning trading.

The latest results signal that Ford’s turnaround is on more solid ground. The company lost more than $14.6 billion last year and hasn’t posted a full-year profit since 2005. While it made a profit in the second quarter, that was mainly due to debt reductions that cut its interest payments.

Ford, based in Dearborn, Mich., reported third-quarter net income of $997 million, or 29 cents per share. Its profit forecast for 2011 was a step above previous guidance of break-even or better for the year.

Ford’s key North American car and truck division posted a pretax profit of $357 million, the division’s first quarter in the black since early 2005. Ford cited higher pricing, lower material costs and increased market share for the improvement.

Excluding one-time items, Ford earned 26 cents per share, blowing away analysts’ expectations of a loss of 12 cents.

The earnings came despite an $800 million revenue drop. But Ford said it cut costs by $1 billion during the quarter, accomplished through layoffs in North America and Europe, reduced pension and retiree health care costs and improvements in productivity and product development.

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Walmart Now Selling Coffins

October 29, 2009

Talk about drop dead prices!

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has introduced online sales of caskets.

I’d laugh, but the last time we were in Costco, we saw coffins there too!

It’s Amazing! You can get just about anything there!

From Reuters:

Shoppers can choose from the Lady de Guadalupe steel casket for $895 or a sienna bronze casket for $2,899.00.

Walmart.com spokesman Ravi Jariwala said it is selling the products as a “limited beta test” that launched within the last few weeks.

Wal-Mart has been revamping its merchandise selection in stores and online to expand into categories it believes have high potential for growth.

The funeral service industry generates $11 billion in revenue a year, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. In 2007, the association said the U.S. death rate was 8.0 people per thousand, and that is expected to rise to 9.3 people per thousand by the year 2020.

The caskets do not qualify for Walmart.com’s free site-to-store shipping program, where shoppers can buy an item online and have it shipped to a local store for free.

Retail Sales in the US…Rise?

February 12, 2009

U.S. retail sales jumped 1 percent in January, reversing a six-month declining trend and defying economists’ expectations by posting the biggest increase in 14 months.

From the Associated Press:

The data are a glimmer of hope for a recession-hit economy, but higher gasoline prices and sales, and buyers snapping up other items on post-holiday discounts, appeared to aid last month’s results. Analysts cautioned that the relief is unlikely to last.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that January retail sales rose 1 percent from December after having fallen for six straight months. Wall Street economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected January sales to show a drop of 0.8 percent. They plunged a revised lower 3 percent in December, which marked the weakest holiday selling season since at least 1969.

“This is a big surprise, though the net rise in sales is less impressive than it looks because (December and November) were revised down by 0.3 percent each,” Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research note. “The headline relief today is welcome but it is unlikely to last.”

The January report shows strong increases in sales of automobiles and in general merchandise stores — the “big box” outlets — though sales by department stores, carrying fewer varieties of items, posted a decline. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, is an example of a discounter that has benefited from strapped consumers’ focus on necessities like groceries and on bargains for other items.

Target Announces Layoffs

January 28, 2009

It seems that no one is safe anymore as Target has announced that they will eliminate more than 1,000 jobs.

From BizJournals.com:

Target Corp. announced Tuesday that it will slash 1,000 jobs at its downtown Minneapolis headquarters, laying off 600 workers and eliminating 400 open positions. The cuts represent about 9 percent of its downtown work force.

Affected employees will continue to receive their full pay and benefits through April 1, at which time they will receive severance packages based on how long they have been with the company. As part of those packages, Target will provide 12 months of continued Target health care benefits, in addition to 12 months COBRA benefits, and outplacement support to assist them in transitioning to their next position.

Target also will close its Little Rock, Ark., distribution center later this year. The facility employs about 500 workers. They will be offered positions at other Target distribution centers or will receive severance packages similar to those received by the headquarters employees.

Retailers Worry Shoppers Are Getting Too Accustomed to Deals

January 7, 2009

With shoppers used to steep discounts and competition from liquidating businesses, retailers are worried that they’ll have to cut prices quickly on spring merchandise as well. Frankly, I wish prices would stay low, but I know that retailers are losing a lot of money offering the deals that they’ve had to offer.

From the Associated Press:

Shoppers are getting used to those 75 percent off sale signs, and that’s bad news for merchants who worry they will also have to quickly slash prices on spring goods to attract customers.

Anxieties about how rampant discounts have affected shoppers’ psyches and stores’ profits are running high ahead of expected dismal December sales figures on Thursday. The holiday season is anticipated to be the worst in decades.

Already, retailers including Bebe Stores Inc. and J.Crew Group Inc. are cutting prices on selected spring styles to lure sale-savvy shoppers.

“It is a vicious cycle that no one wants to continue,” said Gilbert Harrison, chairman of Financo Inc., an investment banking firm specializing in retailing. The discounts will be a key topic at Financo’s annual dinner on Monday for retail chief executives.

In addition, retailers expect competition from a rise in liquidation sales _ the fallout from the horrible holiday period.

Merchants struggling to clear out mounds of deeply discounted coats and sweaters are wondering how they are going to get nervous shoppers to splurge on new spring products.

Holiday Shopping is Far From Over

December 16, 2008

Shoppers still have a lot of holiday shopping to do — the typical consumer has finished 47%, compared with 53% this time last year, according to an NRF survey. NRF President Tracy Mullin said a late Thanksgiving might be to blame. “Retailers will try to manage the rush of last-minute shoppers with expanded hours, extra employees to stock shelves, and a lot of sales and promotions,” Mullin said.

From CNNMoney:

With just over a week to go until Christmas, consumers have completed less than half of their holiday shopping – and millions have not even started yet, according to a report released Tuesday.

The procrastination comes as retail industry experts say a worsening economy and mounting job losses mean households will likely buy fewer gifts this year and possibly for fewer people.

According to the National Retail Foundation’s “Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions” survey, holiday shoppers said they had finished 47% of their gift shopping by the second week of December, which is a significant drop from the 53% of gift purchases they had completed at the same time last year.

Only 8% of respondents said their shopping is complete, and more than 41 million people have not even begun their holiday shopping.

The big procrastinators were men and 35-to-44 year-olds – 21% of each group said they haven’t started their shopping.

The NRF cited this year’s shortened shopping season as a likely culprit. There are five fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year than there were last year.

The shortened shopping season “means that the holidays have snuck up on many of us,” NRF president Tracy Mullin said in a written statement. “Retailers will try to manage the rush of last-minute shoppers with expanded hours, extra employees to stock shelves, and a lot of sales and promotions.”

KB Toys Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

December 12, 2008

KB Toys has filed for bankruptcy protection and plans to close its 277 mall-based stores and 114 outlets. In its Chapter 11 filings, the chain blamed “sudden and sharp decline in consumer sales due to macro-economic concerns.”

From the Associated Press:

In another sign of the grim holiday season, KB Toys filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in four years on Thursday and plans to begin going-out-of business sales at its stores immediately.

The 86-year-old company said in a filing that its debt is “directly attributable to a sudden and sharp decline in consumer sales” because of the poor economy.

That a toy retailer filed for bankruptcy just before Christmas shows how bleak things have become, since such stores make up to half of their sales during the holidays. But analysts expect toy sales this holiday season to be flat or down slightly from last year’s total of $10.4 billion, according to market research firm NPD Group, because consumers are cutting back amid the recession.

In response, toy retailers, including KB Toys, amped up their discounts.

KB Toys had aggressively cut prices to entice cash-strapped shoppers, offering hundreds of toys for $10 or less. It also expanded its value program, which offers deals on new items each week, and offered “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” promotions.

But the deals weren’t enough. In the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, KB Toys said that between Oct. 5 and Dec. 8 sales in stores open at least one year, a key retail metric known as same-store sales, fell nearly 20 percent.

The company said it considered its alternatives and decided the most viable way to cover its debt was to begin liquidating its stores via immediate going-out-of-business sales. KB Toys also plans to sell its wholesale distribution business, according to the filing.