Quarterly results from Best Buy, Ralph Lauren and Dollar Tree show divergence in consumer spending

NEW YORK (AP) — As inflation on necessities like groceries remains stubbornly high, the well-heeled consumer appears to still be spending, while the lower-income shopper continues to cut back their purchases, according to the latest batch of earnings reports. Ralph Lauren Corp. reported a surprise increase in revenue in the latest fiscal quarter, while Dollar Tree cut its annual profit outlook on shoppers’ increased focus on groceries and other necessities. Groceries carry a lower profit margin compared with general merchandise like clothing. Meanwhile, Best Buy turned in a first-quarter profit that beat Wall Street expectations, even as it wrestled with a sales slump. But Best Buy sees the gadget spending slump bottom out by year-end.