Retailers Abandoning Monthly Sales Figures

Monthly retail sales have long been a key—and widely watched—indicator for gauging the health of retailers. But in recent years, more and more chains have begun balking. TNS Retail Forward, Columbus, Ohio, reports that, based on its tracking, 24 retailers have abandoned monthly reporting in just the last two years. Macy’s and CVS Caremark Corp. are among the newest additions to the list, which also includes such retail giants as Sears Holdings Corp., The Home Depot and Dollar General Corp.

No Longer ReportingSources: Company reports and TNS Retail Forward
 Month when stopped reporting
Macy’s, Inc.Feb. ’08
The Sharper Image Corp.Feb. ’08
Jos. A Bank ClothiersFeb. ’08
Deb Shops, Inc.Feb. ’08
CVS/Caremark Corp.Jan. ’08
Cost-U-Less, Inc.Nov. ’07
Factory Card Outlet Corp.Oct. ’07
United Retail GroupOct. ’07
Wilsons LeatherSept. ’07
bebe stores, inc.Aug. ’07
Dress Barn, Inc.Aug. ’07
Dollar General CorpJun. ’07
Claire’s Stores, Inc.May ’07
New York & Co., Inc.May ’07
Gymboree Corp.May ’07
S&K Famous Brands, Inc.Mar ’07
Pier 1 Imports, Inc.Mar ’07
Jo-Ann Stores, Inc.Feb ’07
Citi Trends, Inc.Feb ’07
Hancock Fabrics, Inc.Feb ’07
Guess, Inc.Jan ’07
Talbots, Inc.Mar ’06
Bombay Co., Inc.Mar ’06
Men’s WearhouseAug ’06

Critics of monthly sales say the reports have lost significance as an economic barometer in that they are no longer an accurate representation of the way consumers shop. For one, they don’t include online sales, a fast-growing category for many retailers. Also, gift cards, another growing trend, are not counted as sales until they are redeemed. And some retailers have said they stopped releasing their monthly numbers because the announcements provoked volatility in their share prices.

The monthly numbers have not lost their clout with investors, however, who still regard them as an important indicator of sales trends—particularly in uncertain economic times.

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