Retailers still see challenging times ahead

no shopping.jpgThe blog is a great believer in the forecasting power of the major retailers. The top 3 global companies, Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco all identified a change in consumer buying patterns as early as July 2007, when Tesco warned that “coming down the road is a tougher time“.

Worryingly, their most recent comments give no sign that a strong recovery is yet underway:

Wal-Mart today reported their 4th consecutive quarter of same-store US sales decline. This closely watched measure indicates that consumers are still tightening their belts. And Wal-Mart added that their global customer base is “still concerned about their personal finances and unemployment, as well as higher fuel prices“.

Carrefour saw a slightly better Q1, as same-store sales rose for the first time in 18 months, but only by 0.3%. CEO Lars Olofsson noted, however, that “the environment remains challenging“.

Tesco, global no 3, reported in their latest annual results that internationally they continued to face “strong economic headwinds“, although Asian same-store sales had turned positive.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. He also serves as a Global Expert for the World Economic Forum. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry and the global economy over the next 12 – 18 months. It looks behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in critical areas such as oil prices, China and Emerging Markets, currencies, autos, housing, economic growth and the environment. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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