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Putting Wal-Mart’s profits in focus

Marketplace Staff Nov 12, 2009
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Putting Wal-Mart’s profits in focus

Marketplace Staff Nov 12, 2009
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: Wal-Mart said today profits rose 3.2 percent. But the company says sales at stores open at least a year fell slightly. Let’s bring in Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer, who’s with us live from our Washington bureau. Good morning, Nancy.

Nancy Marshall Genzer: Good morning.

Chiotakis: So these numbers are seen as a sort of an indicator for the economy. Why?

Marshall Genzer: Well, Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer. So, retail analysts can learn a lot about what kind of shape consumers are in by looking at Wal-Mart’s numbers.

Now Ken Perkins of Retail Metrics has been crunching the Wal-Mart numbers. And he says they show consumers are in bad shape.

KEN PERKINS: I think there’s a lot of people that are just really getting by. There’s not a lot of discretionary income available to those lower-end consumers that shop at Wal-Mart.

Chiotakis: Nancy, are these numbers all that bad?

Marshall Genzer: Well Perkins says keep things in perspective. We are comparing this year’s sales, with the same time last year. And guess what? Wal-Mart sales for the third quarter of 2008 were actually up 3 percent. So, Perkins says today’s numbers are disappointing, but keep in mind they’re being compared to numbers from last year that were very good. And keep in mind, Wal-Mart isn’t the only indicator out there. Nordstrom is going to be reporting its numbers after the market closes today.

Chiotakis: All right. Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer at our Washington bureau. Nancy, thanks.

Marshall Genzer: You’re welcome.

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