July 19, 2008 in Business

SHOPPING LIFE

 
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Reports this week on quarterly earnings shed light on America’s spending habits as the economy continues to sour:

Sales of Mattel’s Barbie fell 6 percent while sales of other brands aimed at girls rose 27 percent, mainly because of sales of dolls related to The Walt Disney Co.’s “High School Musical” films.

In Mattel’s Wheels category, which includes Hot Wheels, Matchbox and other toys, sales rose 32 percent, spurred by sales of “Speed Racer” toys.

American Girl Brands saw earnings jump 10 percent, driven by items related to the “Kit Kittridge: An American Girl” movie.

Harley- Davidson Inc. said its second-quarter profit fell sharply as a weak economy, record-high gas prices and lower consumer confidence continued to hobble the iconic motorcycle maker’s shipments and sales. Shipments of its motorcycles to dealers and distributors fell more than 15 percent.

Coca-Cola Enterprises, which has about 80 percent of the U.S. market for Coke, said it would raise prices after Labor Day because of higher commodity costs and declining U.S. soda sales. Bottlers set prices for retailers such as grocery stores. The world’s biggest beverage company said its profit fell 23 percent in the second quarter.

Higher gas sales and a boost from its more upscale stores helped grocer Safeway Inc. post slightly higher second-quarter earnings Thursday, but a downbeat outlook because of consumers cutting back sent its shares tumbling more than 10 percent.

Sherwin- Williams Co. posted a better-than- expected second quarter, despite a weak housing market and higher material costs that dragged the paint maker’s profit down 15 percent. The company cautioned investors that it would be forced to raise prices for a third time this year, and predicted the still-souring housing sector will hamper its third-quarter results.

From wire reports

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