Strong performance by Macy’s leads department store results in July

New York City A revitalized Macy’s led department store results for July. Kohl’s Corp. and Saks also topped analysts’ expectations. J.C. Penney, however, came in below estimates.

Macy's said Thursday that its same-store sales climbed 7.3% in July, ahead of the 5.9% gain forecast by Wall Street analysts. Macy’s total revenue for the month was $1.53 billion, up 11% from last July's net revenue of $1.38 billion.

“Our strong sales performance in July and the second quarter resulted from the continued evolution of our core Macy’s strategies, including My Macy’s localization and centralization of the organization. We also are benefiting from the continued strength at Bloomingdale’s, which will open its newest store tomorrow in Santa Monica, Calif.,” said company CEO Terry Lundgren in a statement,

Lundgren also said that Macy’s back-to-school business was off to a "great" start, helped by its newly launched Material Girl fashion collection created by pop star Madonna and her 13-year-old daughter, Lourdes.

Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and CEO, commented, “Our sales results in July were driven by increases in the number of transactions per store, consistent with our trends throughout 2010. Average unit retail and units per transaction continue to experience modest declines, indicating that our customer remains cautious in her spending. We are well-positioned from a merchandise and inventory perspective as we enter the back-to-school season.”

From a regional perspective, the Southeast continued its strong year-to-date trends, the company said, while from a line-of-business perspective, footwear and men’s again achieved the strongest comparable-store sales performance during the month.

J.C. Penney Co. said that its same-store sales fell 0.6%. Analysts, on average, had expected same-store sales to rise 3.4%. Total sales for the four weeks ended July 31 decreased 2.8% to $1.16 billion, citing lost revenue from the discontinuation of its Big Book catalogs.

The retailer said that men’s apparel and women’s accessories were the top performing merchandise divisions during the month, as were sales of “wear now” summer apparel and accessories across most categories. This strength was offset by the selling through of its clearance inventory at a faster rate, and often at sharper price points, than in the year-ago period, the company said, which resulted in lower total clearance sales when compared to last year. J.C. Penney’s continued that its action had enabled it to enter the back-to-school season with fresh, forward-looking inventory.

Other July same-store sales results include:

  • At Saks, same-store sales rose 6.4% topping Wall Street forecasts for a 5.1% increase;
  • The Bon-Ton Stores its sales fell 0.3%, hurt by heavy rains and hot weather. Best-selling items included ladies' shoes, sportswear for men and women, jewelry and intimate apparel. The weakest-performing categories were children's, juniors, home products and men's;
  • Dillard's sales fell 3%, coming in well short of analysts' forecasted increase; and
  • Nordstrom's sales were up 7.6%, below analysts' estimates of an 8.1% increase. Jewelry, dresses and handbags were the best-selling categories during the month, and the average amount that shoppers spent per transaction was up slightly. In August, Nordstrom plans to open one full-line store in Santa Monica, Calif., and two off-price Rack stores in Arlington and Fairfax, Va.

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