BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Business  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
E-Commerce
Economy
Market Data
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
US retailers in the money
New York shoppers
Consumer spending has kept the economy going
Leading US retailers have unveiled sharply higher profits, boosting hopes that the economy is firmly on track for recovery.

Home Depot, the world's largest home furnishings chain, said on Tuesday that profits for the three months to early May climbed 35%, while discount retailer Target unveiled a 36% jump in earnings.

The retail sector's performance is seen as a key indicator of the health of the wider economy in the US, where consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity.

Same-store sales at Home Depot were up by 7%, and by 5% at Target, raising hopes that the US consumer boom still has some way to run.

Rain deters shoppers

US consumers' willingness to keep spending last year in the face of a severe economic downturn and the 11 September attacks is credited with staving off a prolonged recession.

But flattening retail sales figures and declining consumer confidence have in recent weeks raised fears that shoppers have started to trim their spending in the face of continuing economic uncertainty.

A closely-watched fortnightly snapshot of the US retail sector on Tuesday showed a 0.3% decline in sales during the two weeks to 18 May compared with the previous two-week period.

Instinet Research, the author of the survey, said cold weather and heavy rains had curbed activity at the tills.

Market jitters

Also on Tuesday, office supplies chain Staples Inc said net income for the three months to early May more than doubled to $94m.

And upmarket department store Saks unveiled a 25% jump in profits before one-off costs over the same period.

But the news was not enough to halt a slide in share prices on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones index closing 1.21% lower at 10,105.71.

Home Depot shares led the decline, finishing 7% lower at $44.90 because of concerns that the company's sales are growing less quickly than its competitors'.


Economic indicators

Fears and hopes

US Fed decisons

IN DEPTH
See also:

12 Apr 02 | Business
13 Mar 02 | Business
14 Nov 01 | Business
15 Jan 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes