Specialty Retailers Fall in November

New York City The downturn in consumer spending hit the nation’s mall-based specialty retailers hard in November, as many leading chains posted drops in same-store sales. In some cases, however, the drops were not as bad as many analysts has predicted.

There were also some exceptions to the downturn.  Hot Topic Inc.’s November same-store sales rose 6.5%. Analysts has estimated same-store sales to fall 0.1%.

Hot Topic’s total November sales rose 9% to $61.3 million from a year ago.

In other results:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch, which has resisted deep discounting, saw a 28% same-store sales drop, worse than the 25.6% analysts expected. Same-store sales fell 25% at namesake stores; 35% at its abercrombie children's stores; 29% at Hollister stores; and 29% at its newest division, Ruehl. Total sales for the four-week period ended Nov. 29 fell 24% to $267.3 million;

  • Chico's FAS Inc. said its November sales at stores open at least one year fell 15.4%, the exact figure predicted by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters. Net sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 29 fell 11.3% to $118.5 million;

  • Limited Brands Inc. said Thursday that same-store sales sank 12% in November as shoppers scaled back their discretionary spending, which was slightly worse than Wall Street expectations. Overall net sales for the month also fell 12% to $755.6 million, from $858.7 million during the same period last year;

  • Gap Inc. reported net sales of $1.39 billion for the four-week period ended Nov. 29, down 10% from the four-week period ended Dec. 1, 2007. The company’s comparable-store sales for November 2008 fell 10%;

  • The Wet Seal Inc. said that November same-store sales fell 13.9%, a bigger drop than analysts predicted, as the company's Arden B chain continued to be a drag on results. The company said the shift of Thanksgiving hurt results, with only two post-Thanksgiving shopping days during the period compared with nine last year. Total sales for the four-week period ended Nov. 29 fell 13% to $46 million;

  • Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. said its November same-store sales fell 10% citing sales decreases in all of its regions except the Midwest. The decline was better that the 14.3% analysts expected. Total sales for the month fell 8% to $101 million from $110.2 million in November 2007.

  • American Eagle Outfitters’ same-store sales 11% in November, compared to the estimate for a decline of 15.2%. Total November sales fell 5% to $272.8 million;

  • The Children's Place Retail Stores Inc. reported its November same-store sales decreased 7%, more than analysts expected. The company said net sales for the four-week period ended Nov. 29 fell 3% to $156.6 million from net sales of $160.9 million for the four-week period ended Dec. 1, 2007; and

  • Stage Stores Inc. said its November same-store sales slipped 8%, hurt by a shift in the timing of Thanksgiving. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a bigger same-store sales decline of 14%. Total monthly sales dropped 4.8% to $124.4 million from $130.7 million.

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