Sunday, January 11, 2009

Grocery and pharmacy retailers stable amid uncertain retail environment: analysts

From the Truro (NS) Daily News:
Companies that sell food, drugs and other consumer staples are best positioned to prosper in an uncertain retail environment that appears headed for a decline, industry observers say.

Keith Howlett of Desjardins Securities says leading grocery and pharmacy chains offer better earnings visibility at time when consumers remain cautious about spending.

Among the beneficiaries are grocery chains Metro Inc. (TSX:MRU.A) and Loblaw (TSX:L), along with pharmacy leaders Jean Coutu Group (TSX:PJC) and Shoppers Drug Mart (TSX:SC).

While Wal-Mart didn’t separate its Canadian results, it said Thursday that food and consumables were among the categories that performed well as same-store sales growth disappointed analysts.

Jean Coutu reported Thursday that its prescription sales remained strong during the third quarter although sales of non-prescription goods lagged expectations at 1.6 per cent growth. Chief executive Francois Coutu, however, noted consumers were increasingly seeking value through purchases of promotional items, which tend to be lower-priced. ...more

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