- - Thursday, June 2, 2011

COMMERCE

Muted May revenue growth reported by retailers

NEW YORK — Shoppers are showing signs of pulling back on spending on discretionary items such as clothing and home goods as gasoline and groceries eat up more of their paychecks.

Those pressures led many retailers on Thursday to report only modest revenue increases in May, the latest sign of the economy hitting a soft patch.

Most of the spring, consumers seemed to shrug off rising prices. Now, gasoline at more than $1 per gallon more than last year and higher grocery bills are “finally taking a bite and affecting sales,” said Ken Perkins, president of research firm Retail Metrics. “It definitely raises the caution flag going into the summer.”

Revenue rose 5.4 percent overall among 27 retailers at stores open at least a year, according to a preliminary tally by the International Council of Shopping Centers. But that was skewed by the strong positive effect gas price inflation had on retailers that sell gas such as Costco Wholesale and BJ’s Wholesale Club. Excluding gas, retail revenue rose 3.7 percent.

Luxury stores are performing much better than stores that cater to middle- and lower-end consumers.

STOCKS

Groupon files for initial public offering

NEW YORKGroupon Inc., an online daily coupon site, has filed for an initial public offering, capitalizing on investor infatuation with social media companies that have yet to prove they are the real deal.

The company filed to raise up to $750 million in its IPO, an offering that has been widely speculated about for months and comes hard on the heels of a number of hot technology debuts.

Other Internet companies including LinkedIn Corp. and China’s Renren Inc. have had strong IPO premieres in recent months, causing speculation that other companies would rush to follow.

Thursday’s IPO filing did not specify the number of shares to be sold in the IPO, the price range, or the exchange, though it did say the shares would trade under the symbol “GRPN.” It also said the $750 million figure is preliminary and could change.

AUTO

Ford plans smallest engine ever

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