In general, retail earnings looked all right in the quarter ended around April 30, said Kurt Salmon retail strategist John Long, but shoppers were largely absorbing higher costs just on food and gasoline and had yet to face looming increases other goods.
"We're already starting to see a little bit of margin pressure," Long said. "And we think that as we get into the summer and fall, when we see bigger price increases ... that may cause some consumers to pull back."
............................At BJ's, the No. 3 U.S. warehouse club chain, shoppers traded down in both brands and package sizes, Chief Financial Officer Bob Eddy said during a conference call.
............................The U.S. recovery will continue to be slow and uneven, particularly for more moderate-income households, Target (TGT) Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel said during a conference call.
.............................Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT) said its customers were showing pronounced signs of living paycheck-to-paycheck, as sales at its U.S. discount stores open at least a year had fallen for two straight years.
In my opinion, as long as gasoline prices stay close to $4 at the pump, this is going to be a slow and long summer and even fall for many retailers, especially those with very little margin to squeeze such as discounters, supermarkets, low-end department stores as they start to pass on cost increases to customers in the next few months.
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