Retailers

Companies that cater to the public by selling various goods are called retailers. This encompasses both large and small stores. Investors look at fashion trends, sales per square feet, the potential to open more stores, inventory levels, and same-store sales data, as well as the ability of retailers to generate loyalty among their customers. Looking at them as a whole, retailers can provide a general idea about consumer spending. If they are selling more, it is considered to be a good sign; when they are selling less, it means consumers are struggling, and there may be rough roads ahead for the economy.


In the first quarter of 2014, Retail Metrics, a retail industry research firm, found U.S. retailers missed their corporate earnings estimates by the most since the year 2000! As I have been writing, consumer spending only increases when consumer confidence…

Straggling earnings reports are revealing more weather-related issues for specific industries (home improvement, for example), but several retailers have been posting really good numbers. Tiffany & Co. (TIF) soared on news of its fiscal first quarter producing global sales growth…

An economy is said to be technically in a recession when it experiences two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth. The biggest portion of the U.S. GDP calculation is consumer spending; then comes investments, government spending, and,…

In 2013, consumer spending accounted for 67% of U.S. gross domestic product. (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis web site, last accessed April 2, 2014.) It’s plain and simple: economic growth cannot be achieved unless consumers are spending. And…

Retail is a tough business to be in and always difficult as an investor. Williams-Sonoma Inc. (WSM) took off after the company beat Wall Street consensus and increased its quarterly dividend by six percent on the back of 4.3 million…

This past Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 175,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in the month of February. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 7, 2014.) The way the media reported it… “Friday’s jobs market report…

Consumer spending in the U.S. economy is highly correlated to consumer confidence. If consumers are worried about the economy, they pull back on their spending. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased by 1.63% in February from January. (Source: Conference…

Last year, the “big thing” with companies was buying back their shares to boost per-share corporate earnings. In 2013, share buybacks hit their pre-financial crisis high. If big public companies didn’t buy back so much of their own stock in…

Women's retailer The Talbots, Inc. (NYSE/TLB) axed its sales estimate for the third quarter and 2010 to negative growth. This is not encouraging, but may be more store-specific than industry-wide; yet, given the current mood in the retail sector, there…