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Department Stores and Discounts Report Dismal Sales in Jan.

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Many department stores and discounters Thursday reported sharp declines in January same-store sales amid the weakening consumer spending and fierce winter weather, which resulted in several major snow and ice storms.

The hardest hit included Saks Inc. and J.C. Penney, which reported bigger drops than expected. Among those beating Wall Street expectations were Target Corp., Kohl’s Corp., Macy’s, and Bon-Ton Stores.

Saks said its same-store sales tumbled 23.7% in January. The company warned investors that heavy discounting will hurt the luxury retailer’s fourth-quarter margins.

For the four weeks ended Jan. 31, Saks said total sales at its owned stores dropped 22.7% to $147.1 million, from $190.3 million in January 2008.

Fourth-quarter same-store sales fell 15.3%. Quarterly owned sales dropped 14.4% to $843.4 million, from $985.6 million in the prior-year period. For the full fiscal year, same-store sales fell 6.1%, while total sales lost 6% to $3.05 billion, from $3.25 billion in the prior fiscal year.

J.C. Penney Co. said Thursday its January same-store sales fell 16.4% in January, a bigger drop than analysts expected amid a weak consumer-spending environment.

Total sales for the four weeks ended Jan. 31 fell nearly 16% to $983 million from $1.16 billion last year.

For the fiscal fourth-quarter, same-store sales fell 10.8% while total sales fell 10% to $5.76 billion. Analysts predicted fourth-quarter sales of $5.82 billion.

For the fiscal year, same-store sales fell 8.5% and total sales fell 7% to $18.49 billion.

Other results in the segment included:

  • Target’s same-store sales fell 3.3% in January. The results beat expectations by Wall Street, although the company said its fourth-quarter results will fall short of analyst estimates due to pressure on profitability from markdowns.

Target said overall sales for the month rose 0.8% to $4.14 billion. For the quarter, preliminary sales fell 1.6% to $19.02 billion, below Wall Street estimates.

For the full year, Target said sales rose 2.3% to $62.9 billion while full-year comparable sales fell 2.9%.

  • Kohl’s Corp. said Thursday that January same-store sales fell 13.4% due to a lower level of clearance items. Analysts had predicted a 15.4% decline.

Total sales dropped 9% for the period ended Jan. 31 to $720.3 million.

Full-year same-store sales slipped 7%, while total sales dipped 0.5% to $16.39 billion.

The company said it expects to beat Wall Street’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings estimate of 99 cents per share, crediting its better-than-expected January sales results as well as its inventory and cost-control efforts.

  • Macy’s Inc.’s same-store sales sank 4.5% in January; better than the 6.3% analysts expected.

Total sales for the month fell 4.7% to $1.21 billion.

For the fourth quarter, Macy’s said sales fell 7.7% to $7.93 billion, down from $8.59 billion during the same period last year. Fourth-quarter same-store sales decreased 7%.

For the full year, Macy’s said sales fell 5.4% o $24.89 billion, down from $26.31 billion last year. Full-year same-store sales slipped 4.6%.

  • Dillard’s Inc. said Thursday that same-store sales fell 12% in January on a pullback in consumer spending and slumps in ladies and children’s apparel.

Dillard’s said overall sales for the month fell 13% to $376.6 million. The company said sales were “significantly below trend” for ladies’ apparel and accessories and children’s and juniors’ apparel, while sales in shoes and men’s apparel and accessories was above trend.

For the full year, Dillard’s said sales fell 6% to $6.74 billion while full-year comparable sales fell 7%.

  • Bon-Ton Stores Inc.’s January same-store sales fell 8.2 % on weakness in its furniture and ladies’ apparel categories, but the results managed to top analysts’ estimates.

The company said its strongest categories for the month were men’s sportswear, children’s, outerwear, intimate apparel and accessories, and particularly cold-weather related items.

The department store operator said total sales slid 8.3% to $172 million for the period ended Jan. 31.

Full-year same-store sales fell 7.4% with total sales down 7% to $3.13 billion.

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Safeway offers heart health screenings

BY CSA STAFF

PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway is offering free blood pressure, BMI (body mass index), and cholesterol level screenings at store pharmacies to promote heart health and prevent the number one killer of women – heart disease.

As part of the company’s “Love Your Heart” campaign, a wellness program to draw attention to the importance of knowing the risk factors of heart disease, Safeway expects to conduct 36,000 free heart health screenings nationwide. The free screenings are available to women and men and will take place from Feb. 4 through Feb. 24 in Safeway pharmacies, including Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s and Carrs pharmacies.

 

“Most women are unaware that heart disease claims more women’s lives than any other disease or illness. Only 8%of women consider it the biggest threat to their health,” said Dave Fong, SVP pharmacy. “Our goal is to educate women about the risk factors and help them take control of their health.”

The screenings, a $40 value, are sponsored by Safeway, Campbell Soup Company, Kellogg’s, Healthy Choice, Diet Coke, Fresh Express, StarKist, Barilla PLUS, and Health Magazine. Screenings will be conducted by nurses or pharmacists at store pharmacies.

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Walmart celebrates Black History Month

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Walmart is celebrating Black History Month this year by offering customers complimentary “Profiles and Pride” and “Black History Timeline” pamphlets at select stores. The pamphlets provide insightful black history information ideal for schools, organizations or individuals.

“This year’s Black History Month theme encourages our associates and customers to honor the positive impact African Americans have made throughout our nation’s history,” said Esther Silver-Parker, SVP corporate affairs. “Our company continues to be committed to the communities it serves through education, opportunity and celebration, and our campaign to celebrate black history throughout the year is perfectly aligned with this commitment. We proudly engage in initiatives to celebrate black history and we encourage our customers to join us in making this a year-round observance.”

To help parents and children increase their knowledge of black history, select Walmart stores nationwide and Walmart.com will feature the GEEBEE Black Heritage SeriesTM games and puzzles. The offerings will include an African counting game, a game about The Underground Railroad, black history trivia games, and an assortment of puzzles.

In an effort to stay connected to its African-American customers, Walmart’s “Our Voice” Web site offers resource information for families to enjoy throughout the year. The Web site – www.wmourvoice.com -provides an online platform for reinforcing the company’s black history message through games and useful information. Users can enjoy an online version of the GEEBEE Black Heritage SeriesTM games and puzzles or access the site to obtain updated information about Wal-Mart’s corporate initiatives supporting the African-American community. Walmart has also established a partnership with ancestry.com, which allows them to offer an interface on the site to aid users in tracing their family genealogy.

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