Home Depot, TJX, Saks prove world isn't ending

Reports of the demise of consumer spending may be premature.

By Jonathan Berr Aug 14, 2012 11:42AM

Remember when market pundits were whining about how consumers were increasingly worried about their economic futures and why that could imperil President Barack Obama's re-election prospects? Well, now they are changing their tune.

Home Depot (HD), TJX (TJX), Saks (SKS) and Michael Kors (KORS) all reported better-than-expected quarterly results Tuesday. July retail sales were also strong, in sharp contrast to recent disappointing results at Starbucks (SBUX) and Coach (COH).

"Things are at the margin at little better," CNBC's Jim Cramer, always the master of understatement, said on the business news channel.

That isn't "irrational exuberance," but it's better than nothing.

Net income at Home Depot rose 12% to $1.53 billion, or $1.01 cents a share, from $1.36 billion, or 86 cents, a year earlier, as a rebounding real-estate market encourages people to fix up their properties. Revenue rose 1.7% to $20.57 billion, fueled by a 2.6% rise in U.S. same-store sales. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected earnings of 97 cents on revenue of $20.7 billion. Comparable sales were also below forecasts. Wall Street was willing to look past those issues because the average consumer ticket rose by 1.8% to $55.02.

Under CEO Frank Blake, Home Depot has managed to execute well and keep operating expenses -- which fell 2.7% to $4.46 billion in the quarter -- in check. The company raised its 2012 earnings forecast to $2.95 per share from an earlier forecast of $2.90. Analysts had expected profit of $2.92. Sales are forecast to rise 4.6% this year, below analysts' forecasts of 5.1%.

Off-price retailer TJX reported a 21% gain in quarterly earnings, fueled by strong same-store sales. Revenue jumped 9% to $5.9 billion. The company also raised its full-year guidance as customer traffic rose "substantially" in the latest quarter.

Luxury retailer Saks reported a smaller-than-expected loss, fueled by a 4.7% gain in comparable sales in the quarter, as consumers snapped up men's apparel, women's and men's shoes, fine jewelry, and cosmetics and fragrances. Michael Kors, which also caters to wealthy consumers, reported that its first-quarter earnings nearly tripled.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter@jdberr.

Aug 14, 2012 1:54PM

A few retailer sales may be up but many are in the tank.  For those that are showing increases, you need to dig into the numbers to see what is causing it.  I personally feel it is due to raising your retail prices rather than selling more goods.

Aug 15, 2012 7:58AM
You stay rite there in your mommies basement there Remo.....Everything is fine out here.
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