Examining Long-Term Trends

The commonly reported monthly comparable-store-sales change provides an interesting snap-shot 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 that have established consistently improving or declining long-term comparable-store-sales trends.

Observation

After reviewing the releases and the results for February, I think the less said about the month the better. When you take the least important month of the retail year (no reason for the consumer to buy) and combine it with extreme weather shifts (the lowest temperatures nationally in 18 years and 60% more snowfall than a year ago) it makes little sense to attempt to interpret the trend. With the shift in the timing of Easter, March will provide an excellent opportunity to assess the strength and stability of long-term trends.

Quarterly Reporters With a Declining Nine-Month TrendSource: The Gordman Group
RetailerLast Reported QuarterLast Six MonthsLast Nine Months
Bombay Co.–15.5%–9.2%–6.6%
Lowe’s–5.3%–4.7%–1.8%
Mens Wearhouse–1.5%0.7%1.6%
QVC7.0%9.1%9.4%
Safeway3.5%3.6%3.8%
Staples1.0%2.5%2.9%
Talbots Inc.–1.6%0.4%0.7%
Whole Foods Market6.2%7.2%8.0%

Monthly Reporters With an Improving Six-Month Trend

Source: The Gordman Group
RetailerFebruary 2006February 2007Previous 90 DaysPrevious Six Months
BJs1.6%3.0%1.0%0.6%
Claire’s4.0%1.0%0.6%0.5%
Hot Topic–8.4%–2.7%–5.2%–5.9%
Jos. A. Bank Clothiers3.3%2.8%2.4%2.3%
Longs Drug Store1.9%2.7%2.2%2.0%
Saks, Inc.–6.7%24.7%9.9%9.4%
Sam’s Clubs4.6%3.9%3.0%2.6%
Target3.6%5.7%4.8%4.7%
Zumiez28.0%12.0%11.9%11.4%

Monthly Reporters With a Declining Six-Month Trend

Source: The Gordman Group
RetailerFebruary 2006February 2007Previous 90 DaysPrevious Six Months
Abercrombie & Fitch5.0%–6.0%–2.5%0.6%
Chico’s5.7%–4.3%–1.9%–1.6%
CVS5.9%7.0%8.5%8.9%
Dillard’s–2.0%–9.0%–4.1%–3.1%
Dress Barn5.0%0.0%5.3%6.2%
Family Dollar4.4%–0.5%1.3%1.8%
Gymboree19.0%1.0%8.0%11.5%
Limited Brands5.0%3.0%7.4%8.4%
Penney2.3%–0.2%2.2%3.4%
Rite-Aid2.3%2.2%3.2%3.5%
Ross Stores6.0%1.0%1.4%3.1%
Stage Stores-0.9%1.4%2.5%3.2%
TJX1.0%2.0%4.7%5.4%
Walgreens5.7%8.6%9.3%9.7%

Quarterly Reporters With an Improving Nine-Month Trend

Source: The Gordman Group
RetailerLast Reported QuarterLast Six MonthsLast Nine Months
Amazon34.0%30.3%28.1%
J.Crew19.0%17.5%15.8%
Payless ShoeSource6.8%6.0%4.6%

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

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