New York City June proved tough for retailers, many of whom posted yet another month of dropping sales. Analysts credited the poor performance to unseasonably cool and rainy weather that cut into sales of summer staples and to the ongoing economic downturn. Retailers also suffered from tough comparisons to last year, when consumers were getting their government stimulus checks. The weak performance raised concerns about the all-important back-to-school shopping season.
This June was the second coolest in 10 years, with record rainfall in cities including New York, Boston and Chicago, according to weather research firm Planalytics. But financial worries are clearly discouraging shoppers, too. The latest federal jobs report showed wages shrinking and higher-than-expected job losses in June.
As retailers reported their monthly figures Thursday, the weakness cut across all sectors but hit clothing stores particularly hard. One of the few chains that managed to beat Wall Street expectations was teen fave Aeropostale, whose June same-store sales rose 12%, better than the 10.3% predicted. Year-to-date same-store sales grew 12%.
Another strong performer during the recession, The Buckle, saw its gains slow last month, although its results were outstanding compared to the majority of retailers. The chain, which has had 22 months of consecutive double-digit same-store sales gains, reported a 9.6% rise, compared with the 12% increase Wall Street projected. Year-to-date same-store sales rose 15.2%.
One of the sharpest declines was registered by teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. which said Thursday its same-store sales fell 32% in June, a steeper drop than expected. For the five weeks ended July 4, the struggling retailer said total sales fell 26% to $230.4 million from $309.7 million. Year-to-date, the company's same-store sales fell 30% as total sales fell 24% to $1.03 billion.
Limited Brands struggled with a 12% drop in same-store sales last month; analysts expected a 7.9% decline. Gap posted a 10% decline in same-store sales, worse than the predicted 8.6% drop.
Also reporting worse-than-expected declines were Wet Seal, whose same-store sales fell 11.1%; The Children's Place, which reported a 12% decline; Stage Stores, where sales slid 12.6% and Destination Maternity Corp., whose same-store sales fell 10.7% in June, partly hurt by a calendar shift.
American Eagle Outfitters said that its same-store sales dropped 11% in June, worse than Wall Street's expectations, but the teen apparel retailer maintained its second-quarter earnings guidance.
Other apparel retailers reporting same-store sales results for June included: