How Bad Is The Consumer?


Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine, who’s on the frontlines of consumer spending, reveals his outlook for America.

Shoppers, enticed by heavy discounts and armed with rebate checks, spent freely in June, helping to lift retailers' sales. Unfortunately that’s about as good as it might get for those shop keepers.

Analysts are placing a great deal of emphasis on the impact of the economic stimulus checks. Otherwise, they say the outlook looks rough. Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics LLC, a research company in Swampscott, Mass., said the rebate checks provide only a "one-time bump. The back-to-school season (a critical period for much of retail) is going to be challenging," he said.

"There are still some challenges and customers are reluctant to spend on discretionary items," says Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine on Fast Money.

However his company has been performing somewhat better than most retailers. That's because "we have unique offerings. For example we’re the exclusive seller of Bugle Boy apparel," he says .

Overall this CEO remains relatively positive about the consumer. “We’re seeing some benefit from the stimulus checks and the warmer weather that hit late June and early July. But what we’ve seen is that people are focused on consumable and we’ve tried to leverage that.”

Traders what do you think?

It’s a tough space, says Jeff Macke.

I wouldn’t jump in, adds Guy Adami.

It’s hard to compete against Wal-Mart , Pete Najarian says.


It’s hard to compete against Wal-Mart , Pete Najarian says.

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Trader disclosure: On July 10, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Adami Owns (AGU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE), (BTU); Macke Owns (MSFT), (USO), (INTC), (WMT); Najarian Owns (AAPL), (CHK), (MAR), (NOK), (TSO), (XTO), (XLF); Najarian Owns (FNM) And (FNM) Puts; Najarian Owns (YHOO) Calls, (RIMM) Calls, (SLB) Calls, (CSCO) Calls; GE Is The Parent Company Of CNBC; NBC Universal Is The Parent Company Of CNBC; Finerman Owns (GS); Finerman's Firm Owns (DVA), (GE), (MSFT), (NOK), (SUN), (TSO), (VLO); Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (C) And (C) Leaps; Finerman's Firm Owns (PLCE) Calls, (TGT) Calls, (HUN) Calls.; Finerman's Firm Is Short (IJR), (MDY), (SPY), (IWM); Finerman's Firm Is Long SPX Index Puts; Finerman's Firm Is Short (BIG)