Retail Sector Earnings Surpass Expectations
Bed Bath & Beyond and The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. report better-than-expected earnings, helping to push the S&P Retail Index up 1.7 percent, reports CBS.MarketWatch.com.
Bed Bath & Beyond led advancers with its stock up almost 7 percent. A&P shares closed up 5 cents at $26.81 — below earlier highs.
Home Depot’s stock climbed 89 cents after Merrill Lynch analyst Peter Caruso
suggested that the home improvement retailer’s same-store sales for the first
quarter could exceed the company’s guidance. Caruso sees sales strength coming
from the wealth effect created by mortgage refinancings, better customer service
and innovative merchandising.
Moderator Comment: What are the challenges and opportunities
for A&P as it attempts to grow same store sales?
It has gotten to the point that you can pretty
much bet on Bed Bath & Beyond to exceed analysts’ expectations. A&P’s improvement
(and stock performance) is testament to Christian Haub and company’s focus on
closing under-performing stores and their rigorous attention to streamlining
operations. Ultimately, however, A&P is going to have to drive more sales through
its stores. A half a percentage point increase in comp store sales is not going
to cut it for any retailer. [George
Anderson – Moderator]