Pay Attention to the Bottom Line

79590052_10.jpgTo be well rounded consumers, it’s important to pay attention to financial reports of some of our favorite stores. 

There have been several recent reports of poor January earnings from prominent retailers such as Macy’s, Gap, and Ann Taylor.  

On the other end, luxury department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue seem to be resistant to a looming recession, but they are not entirely immune.  Nordstrom, for instance, today reported that same store sales for a four week period ending on February 2, 2008 ended 6.6% down.

In a reaction to remain profitable, Macy’s and Ann Taylor have recently reported significant cuts in staff. 

So what could the implications mean?  Well many things.  If a retailer does not expect such a slowdown, they will be left with a higher inventory, which translates into aggressive discounting to move out the merchandise.  As a consumer, you can get more for your money.  Conversely, you may expect fewer discounts in the next quarter as the company adjusts to consumer demand; fewer sales or stock.

Another response to lower earnings or reduced consumer spending means some of the smaller independent brands may further be impacted because they have fewer dollars to market their product.  So what are the chances for your favorite indie line? Certainly not as good as they once were.

On the opposite end of the scale, larger houses such as Louis Vuitton, who are a part of a larger portfolio of business owned by parent company LVMH Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, are better structured to remain profitable due to their global presence and businesses that include, wine, fashion goods, perfume, watches, jewelry.  This lessens the sting of the U.S. economic downturn.

Another thing to consider, when retail is down, so is their stock price.  That could translate into a good deal for you if you keep your eye out and the time is right.

So now when you see the earnings numbers that came out today, you will have something else to consider rather than passing them over to find out why Brittney got out of the hospital.

P.S. Speaking of finances, I just got this headline from the NYTimes.com “Senate Approves $171 Billion Stimulus Plan”.  Good, I’m ready for my cut. 🙂

Sources: Wall Street Journal “LVMH’s Diversification Pays Off” & “Retailers Brace for Weak Results”
PRNewswire.com

Photo Source: Marchesa Spring 2008Coutorture

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