TEXT OF STORY
Steve Chiotakis: We’re gonna hear from Wal-Mart today. The retail giant releases quarterly earnings before the opening bell. And while it’s seen a bit of a slowdown in this economic fallout, it’s still been a bright spot in an otherwise lousy industry. And it’s actually boosted its advertising budget to keep consumers walking through their doors. Danielle Karson reports.
Danielle Karson: Just about every retailer is slashing prices and cutting inventory. Most have scaled back their advertising. Except Wal-Mart, which is shelling out millions.
But retail analyst Howard Davidowitz says it’s small potatoes.
Howard Davidowitz: As a percentage of sales, Wal-Mart is a very small advertiser — $300 million sounds like a big number, but they’re doing $300 billion. It’s a very teeny number.
Retail numbers show consumers are pretty much just spending to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. Davidowitz says that’s what’s keeping Wal-Mart’s books in the black.
Davidowitz: They sell tons of food and they have a strong price image, and they’re perfectly positioned for this economy, and they sell what you have to have cheap. That’s what’s winning.
Davidowitz warns Wal-Mart’s strength could be a weakness down the road. Many of its customers are poor, and a long recession could hurt their buying power.
I’m Danielle Karson for Marketplace.