December Brings Strong Sales Numbers
New York City, Retailers turned in impressive sales numbers for December, but many analysts believe margins generally suffered during last-minute holiday shopping.
All eyes were on Wal-Mart, which reported a 3% comp-store gain after making significant moves to lower prices and adjust merchandise following a slow start to the holiday shopping season. Leading the comp-store gainers for the December sales period were American Eagle, up 32.8%; Children’s Place, up 21%; bebe stores, up 28%; Jos. A. Bank, up 16.2%, and Chico’s FAS, up 18.6%.
Comp-store decliners included Wet Seal, down 11%; Pier 1 Imports, down 8.8%; Christopher & Banks, down 7%; and Bombay Co., down 6%.
Department store chains fared well, led by Neiman Marcus, which posted a 10.8% comp-store increase for December. Nordstorm rose 9.3%; and Saks Inc. comps increased 6%.
Peterson Leaves OfficeMax
Itasca, Ill., OfficeMax said Gary Peterson, president of the company’s retail division, resigned, and that his departure is unrelated to the company’s current investigation into allegations of impropriety regarding vendor promotional payments. The company will commence a search for Peterson’s replacement immediately.
Best Buy Promotes Healy
Minneapolis, Best Buy promoted Tom Healy to executive VP, Best Buy For Business, a new position in the company’s recently formed customer business group. Healy, age 43, reports to John Walden, executive VP and leader of the new group, which aggregates all resources that manage customer segment performance and consolidates resources that define Best Buy for consumers. Healy joined Best Buy in 1990 and previously was in charge of Best Buy International.