Kohl’s, Macy’s and Saks top expectations in May, J.C. Penney disappoints

New York City Despite unseasonable weather throughout much of the country and a shift in the timing of the Memorial Day holiday, Kohl’s Corp., Macy’s and Saks managed to top Wall Street expectations in May.

At J.C. Penney, however, same-store sales slipped 1.8% in May, worse than the 0.6% decline predicted by analysts. Total sales for the four weeks ended May 26 fell 2.1% to $1.2 billion.

Kohl’s Corp. reported a 3.5% increase in comparable-store sales for the month of May on Thursday, continuing its upward trend for 2010. Results topped the expectations of management analysts, who expected an increase of 1.5%, on average.

The retailer reported $1.34 billion in sales for the four-week month ending May 29, a 6.6% increase in total sales over the four-week month ending May 30, 2009.

E-commerce increased more than 50% in May, continuing a trend from the first quarter, the company said. Sales were strongest in the Northeast and Southeast, and footwear showed the strongest same-store sales for the month.

“Our May results were better than planned as business improved during the last week of the month, offsetting some of the sales loss expected with the Memorial Day shift to fiscal June,” Kohl’s chairman Kevin Mansell

Kohl’s has reported a comparable-store sales increase every month in 2010 except April, when sales were hurt by an early Easter. Year-to-date, the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based store is reporting $5.37 billion in sales. It is up 6.4% in comparable-store sales and 9.8% in total sales.

Macy’s said its same-store sales were up 1.4% in May, beating analyst expectations of a 0.9% increase.

The company reported total sales of $1.789 billion for the four weeks ended May 29, up 2.6% over last year. Online sales grew more than 23%.

“Our business trend strengthened toward the end of the month as the weather turned warmer and we approached Memorial Day. Our same-store sales in May would have been up by approximately 5% were it not for the later Memorial Day, which shifted the Sunday and Monday of the holiday weekend by one week into the June reporting period this year from the May reporting period last year,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO of Macy’s.

Upscale department store Saks said Thursday that its same-store sales rose 5.8% in May, beating analysts’ forecasts of a 4% increase. Overall revenue for the month climbed 6.9% to $177.4 million.

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