Department Store Sales Slip in July

Department stores generally saw their sales slip in July as consumers continued to head to discount stores.

Department store J.C. Penney Co. said Thursday its same-store sales fell 6.5% on drops in demand for fine jewelry and home items.

The retailer said women’s apparel, family shoes and children's were its top performers in July, while fine jewelry and home experienced the weakest demand. The northeast and central regions were the best performing regions, while the southeast and southwest continued to experience softer sales, according to the company.

However, J.C. Penney raised its second-quarter earnings guidance, citing better demand for sale merchandise and cost-cutting efforts. The company said it now expects to post a second-quarter profit of 50? to 52? per share, up from its previous prediction of 38? per share.

J.C. Penney attributed the guidance increase to a better-than-expected sell-through of promotionally priced items and continued expense-management efforts during the quarter.

Dillard's Inc. said Thursday that same-store sales rose 2% in July, beating Wall Street estimates as it had above-average sales in its central region. The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. said same-store sales rose 0.7% in July, helped by a back-to-school promotion.

Kohl's Corp. said Thursday its same-store sales fell 10.4% in July, missing Wall Street analysts' estimates, due to lower inventory of spring and summer merchandise. The company said its sales were affected by lower inventory levels of spring and summer items, which were sold on clearance during the month.

Saks said Thursday its July same-store sales fell 5.3%. Analysts, on average, had expected the same-store sales to fall 0.1%. Nordstrom Inc. said its July sales fell 6.1%. Analysts, on average, had expected the sales to fall 6.2%,

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