Macy’s, Saks and J.C. Penney beat Street in July, Kohl’s disappoints as sales fall

New York City -- Department store retailers registered solid gains in July, with Macy’s, Saks and J.C. Penney all beating analysts’ estimates. Kohl’s, however, fell short of estimates as its sales fell.

At Macy's, same-store sales rose 5% in July, beating analysts' estimates of 4.1%. The company’s online sales ( and combined) surged 36.7% in July, 40.2% in the second quarter and 39.2% in the first half of 2011.

Macy’s reported total sales of $1.6 billion for the four weeks ended July 30, 2011, an increase of 5.7% compared with the year-ago period.

“Store and online sales throughout the second quarter continued to be strong at both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO, Macy’s. “In particular, sales have been driven by fresh, interesting and distinctive merchandise assortments that deliver value to our customer. The company’s performance is clearly benefitting from a re-energized, customer-focused growth culture that has embraced our strategies for localization, omnichannel integration and enhanced selling skills among our associates.”

Saks said its same-store sales jumped 15.6% far ahead of  the 8.5% average forecast from Wall Street analysts, as sales of designer clothing and shoes rose.

Saks’ total revenue in July rose 13.8% to $191 million from $167.9 million ion a year earlier. For the second quarter, same-store sales rose 15.5%. Total revenue rose 12.8% to $583.3 million.

J.C. Penney reported a rise of 3.3% in its July same-store revenue on strong sales of women's clothing and accessories and fine jewelry. Its results were  better than analysts expected.

The chain said its Liz Claiborne, Modern Bride and Sephora sections boosted its monthly results.

At Kohl's, same-store sales in July fell 4.6%, and total sales dropped 2.9% to $1.12 billion. Wall Street analysts had expected July same-store sales to rise 3.4%.

Kohl’s CEO Kevin Mansell called the July comp sales results “disappointing.”

“I am, however, especially pleased with our ability to manage our inventory and expenses resulting in better than planned gross margins as well as better than planned leverage on our expenses,” he said.

In other department store retailers’ July same-store sales results:

  • Nordstrom reported a 6.6% gain in sales.
  • The Bon-Ton Stores’ sales dipped 1.6%, as July sales of juniors, children's, shoes and furniture disappointed.
  • Stage Stores’ sales inched up 0.8%, worse than the 2% predicted.
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