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December Sales Disappoint

The commonly reported monthly comparable-store-sales change provides an interesting snapshot of one month’s performance. The longer range trend provides a truer insight into what is actually happening with an individual retailer or in an entire channel. The following analysis highlights retailers who have established consistently improving or declining long-term comparable-store-sales trends.

Observations

Companies with improving 90 day and six-month trends experience a greater rate of improvement in December. The opposite also appears to be true. Weakening trends are also amplified in December. It appears that companies who understand their core customers and serve their needs gain extra benefit when the customers are spending the most.

Monthly Reporters With an Improving Six-Month Trend


Source: The Gordman Group
Retailer Dec. 2005 Dec 2006 Previous 90 Days Previous Six Months
Gottschalks 3.7% 2.1% 0.4% 0.0%
Gymboree 16.0% 15.0% 11.7% 11.3%
Neiman Marcus 8.6% 7.1% 6.1% 6.0%
Pacific Sunwear 1.0% –3.2% –4.2% –6.2%
Pier 1 Imports –4.8% –10.7% –13.1% –13.8%
Saks Fifth Ave 3.1% 11.1% 9.2% 7.2%
TJX Cos. 6.0% 6.0% 5.7% 4.9%

Monthly Reporters With a Declining Six-Month Trend


Source: The Gordman Group
Retailer Dec. 2005 Dec. 2006 Previous 90 Days Previous Six Months
Abercrombie & Fitch 29.0% –1.0% 1.6% 1.9%
Ann Taylor 1.5% –5.3% 0.5% 3.5%
Bon-Ton 0.8% –5.8% –2.4% 0.0%
Chico’s FAS 16.4% –2.0% –0.7% 0.9%
Claire’s 4.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.9%
CVS 7.3% 8.5% 8.8% 9.0%
Dillard’s 1.0% –5.0% –2.4% –2.0%
Family Dollar 2.3% 1.2% 1.9% 3.4%
Gap –9.0% –8.0% –5.8% –4.5%
Longs Drug Stores 2.4% 1.0% 2.0% 2.2%
Rite-Aid 3.9% 2.6% 3.4% 3.6%
Stage Stores 7.3% 2.2% 2.8% 3.6%
Walgreen Co 6.2% 7.9% 9.7% 9.8%

Quarterly Reporters With an Improving Nine-Month Trend


Source: The Gordman Group
Reatailer Last Reported Quarter Last Six Months Last Nine Months
Amazon 24.3% 23.2% 22.1%
Big Lots 5.8% 5.5% 4.5%
Cabela’s 3.1% –1.0% –0.8%
Cost Plus –1.3% –2.2% –2.9%
Dick’s Sporting Goods 8.9% 7.7% 7.3%
Famous Footwear 8.2% 4.4% 3.6%
Finish Line –3.3% –5.1% –5.8%
GameStop 8.8% 6.3% 2.9%
Hibbett Sporting Goods 7.1% 4.1% 2.6%
Naturalizer 6.0% 1.8% 1.5%
Payless ShoeSource 5.2% 3.7% 2.6%
QVC 12.1% 11.1% 9.4%
Sears Holdings –4.8% –5.6% –6.5%
Talbots Inc. 2.3% 1.8% 1.5%

Quarterly Reporters with a Declining Nine-Month Trend


Source: The Gordman Group
Retailer Last Reported Quarter Last Six Months Last Nine Months
Circuit City 5.1% 6.6% 8.9%
Guitar Center 2.9% 4.0% 4.7%
Lowe’s –4.0% –0.2% 1.6%
RadioShack –9.6% –6.4% –4.6%
Urban Outfitters Inc –10.0% –8.6% –6.9%

For a full listing of monthly sales performance, visit www.chainstoreage.com, and click on Monthly Sales under the “Industry Data” headline, on the left column.

Robert Gordman is the president of The Gordman Group, Denver, and is the author of “The Must-Have Customer—7 Steps to Winning the Customer You Haven’t Got.”

© 2014