Discounters Benefits From Consumer Anxiety

ninjapoodleFlickr Do you feel poor? Wal-Mart’s hoping so. Staggering consumer confidence is driving up sales for the world’s largest retailer. Same store sales were up almost 6% in June, beating the estimates.

As the economy continues to slow, Americans are making up for higher prices by shopping at low price retailers like Wal-Mart. Sales got a boost with the economic stimulus checks, especially in grocery, entertainment, and health and wellness. Shoppers reportedly cashed about $350 million in tax rebate checks at Wal-Mart stores.

“The Wal-Mart U.S. underlying business remains strong,” Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe said in a statement. “However, consumers and small business owners remain concerned about the economy, inflation and, most of all, higher gas prices.”

What Else is Up?

As consumer hope dwindles, we adjust our shopping habits accordingly. Who else is benefiting from the recent economic woes?

Sam’s Club – (owned by Wal-Mart) due in large part to discounted gasoline prices

Costco – 9% gain in same-store sales for this Issaquah, Washington based club store

BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc.  – average ticket price up 2%

Walgreens – helped by allergy medicine Zyrtec going over-the-counter, same-store sales up almost 4% – According to a May Newsweek article:

The number of page views on Web sites that feature money-off coupons for all manner of consumer products surged 38%, to 281 million, in March from a year earlier, compared with 5% for the Internet as a whole, according to comScore (SCOR). Those visitors spent a total of 145 million minutes on the sites, a 37% increase.

Suddenly I feel trendy. I’ve been shopping cheap and clipping coupons for years.