Deloitte consumer spending index drops in October
NEW YORK — Soft housing prices drove down the Deloitte consumer spending index for the month of October, Deloitte said Wednesday.
The index, which is comprised of four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices — fell to 4.63%, from an upwardly revised gain of 4.84% a month ago.
But Deloitte said that the drop is no reason to give up hope on the holiday season.
"Despite the index’s recent weakness, there are signs that consumers are starting to shake off their long-term austerity in time for the holiday season," said Alison Paul, vice chairman and retail sector leader at Deloitte. "Recognizing there is still fierce competition for consumers’ wallets this season, retailers should be ready to capture the consumer’s interest with renewed focus on their exclusive items, personalized service and targeted promotions."
Sales slide continues at Walmart as profit goal is met
BENTONVILLE, Ark. Weak sales trends continued at Walmart’s U.S. stores division during the third quarter as same-store sales declined 1.3%; however, the company managed to meet analysts’ third-quarter earnings per share target of 90 cents.
Inclusion of a five cents a share tax benefit resulted in third-quarter earnings per share of 95 cents and caused the company to raise the full-year profit forecast to a range of $4.08 to $4.12 from $3.95 to $4.05.
Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke said the company performed well in the third quarter and delivered solid earnings growth for shareholders.
“Our company now has delivered four consecutive quarter of operating expense leverage, and we continue to grow operating income faster than sales,” Duke said.
Operating income during the quarter grew 3.1% to $5.6 billion while sales increased 2.6% to slightly more than $101 billion.
Sales at the U.S. stores division were essentially flat at $62.2 billion, while operating profits increased 1.9% to $4.4 billion. The 1.3% comp decline at the U.S. division marked the sixth consecutive quarter of declining comps, and Walmart left open the possibility of a fourth-quarter decline by offering a guidance range of negative 1% to plus 2%.
Internationally, sales on a constant currency basis increased 7.9% to $26.6 billion, and operating profits increased 12.4% to $1.2 billion. Including favorable currency benefits, sales increased 9.3% to $26.9 billion, and profit increased 13.5% to $1.223 billion.
Sales at Sam’s Club increased 2.7% to $12.1 billion, while operating profits declined 7.1% to $367 million, and same-store sales, excluding the favorable impact of rising fuel prices, increased 2.4%.
“Our international business continues to deliver impressive results, with sales up more than 9%,” Duke said. “We are also pleased with the ongoing sales momentum at Sam’s Club and expect that momentum to continue in the fourth quarter. Our Walmart U.S. business is on the right track with third-quarter comps sales with guidance and operating income growing faster than sales.”
Eagle Pack named sponsor of 2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
TEWKSBURY, Mass. — A natural pet food brand has been named the official dog food of an upcoming sled dog race.
Eagle Pack said it would sponsor the 2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which runs from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. As the official dog food sponsor, Eagle Pack will supply food along the trail, and will dedicate funds to the health and care of the Iditarod dogs.
Al Townshend, Eagle Pack’s staff veterinarian and a former recipient of the Iditarod’s Golden Stethoscope Award for ultimate canine caregiving, knows firsthand what mushers on the trail need to keep all the dogs in top shape. "Eagle Pack’s high-quality, performance-proven formula has been developed with canine athletes and quality breeders. This has helped us make better foods for all dogs, not just those that require exceptional nutrition, and resulted in our gaining an advanced understanding of a dog’s true needs," he said.