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US Retail Stocks in Decline

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The S&P Retail Index was down 0.1% for the first quarter of 2011. (Photo: T. Al Nakib)
The S&P Retail Index was down 0.1% for the first quarter of 2011. (Photo: T. Al Nakib)


  • Poor results and low forecasts for OfficeMax, Liz Claiborne and Urban Outfitters drag US retail stocks down
  • Walmart reports 0.6% increase in shares

Retail stocks in the United States fell on Thursday following poor results and forecasts from big names such as OfficeMax, Urban Outfitters and label Liz Claiborne, according to analysts at FactSet Research.

Office supplies giant OfficeMax reported lower than expected first quarter profits of 13 cents a share, well short of the estimated 27 cents. Share prices plummeted 12% as a result.

Liz Claiborne has posted 13 straight quarters of losses as it struggles to rebuild its brands. Shares in the clothing company fell 3.5% or $1.02 a share in Q1, with the company reporting a loss of over $96 million, compared to last year’s loss of $71.8 million.

Specialty retailer Urban Outfitters forecast low single-digit sales growth for the quarter, which saw shares drop 4.6%.

Walmart Reports Slight Increase

Mega-retailer Walmart saw a slight increase of 0.6% in shares, with announcements it is putting hunting shotguns and rifles back on the shelf in around 500, mostly rural, stores. The company is trying to turn around seven consecutive quarters of same-store losses.

The S&P Retail Index was down 0.1% for the first quarter of 2011.

Key Players – US Retail Industry Leaders

  • Walmart
  • The Kroger Company
  • Home Depot
  • Costco
  • Target

Key Statistics – Global Retail Industry

  • The global retail industry generated over $10 trillion in revenue in 2009, growing annually at a rate of 4.3% between 2005 and 2009 (source: DataMonitor).
  • The US retail industry (including food services and automotive) generated $4.13 trillion in sales in 2009, marking a second straight year of decline (source: US Census Bureau).

By James Mulholland for
James Mulholland is a Paris-based internet and broadcast journalist specializing in sports, current affairs and technology news, while also freelancing as a photographer.

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