FINANCE

Department stores strong in October, led by Nordstrom

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — As the holidays approach and retailers are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, October same-store sales results showcased consistent strength in the department store category.

Nordstrom led the pack with a 9.8% rise in same-store sales for the month, and Macy’s Inc. had a solid showing as well.

“Business was strong in October,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO of Macy’s, Inc. “The key growth strategies we put in place three years ago continue to provide us new opportunities for continuous improvement in driving sales. We are feeling confident about our prospects for the upcoming holiday season and have increased our sales guidance for the fall season, despite the interruption caused by Hurricane Sandy in the first few days of the fourth quarter.”

Macy’s reported a 4.1% same-store sales rise in October and posted total sales of $1.908 billion for the four weeks ended Oct. 27, an increase of 3.6% compared with $1.842 billion in the prior-year period.
Macy’s said it is raising its guidance for same-store sales growth in the second half of 2012 to approximately 4% (an increase from previous guidance of up approximately 3.7%).

Kohl’s Corp. reported a 3.3% same-store sales rise on Thursday, and total sales increased 2.6% in the third quarter. The company also announced that it would no longer report monthly sales, effective fiscal 2013.

Other department store same-store sales results in October include:

  • Stage Stores beat Wall Street expectations with a 6.5% rise, when just 2.8% was forecast; and
  • Bon-Ton Stores gained 3.7%.
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FINANCE

October comps a mixed bag

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — With retail books closed prior to Hurricane Sandy’s arrival in the Northeast, most retailers experienced same-store sales gains for the month of October, some with stronger showings than others.

The 17 retail chains tracked by Thomson Reuters are predicted to report 4.3% growth in October same-store sales, up slightly over the 4.1% advance reported in the year-ago period and a significant gain over September’s 0.8% rise.

Among specialty retailers, Gap and Limited showed the greatest muscle in a weaker October category, with lifted same-store sales of 4% and 3% respectively.

Gap Inc.’s swing to a 4% same-store sales gain in October from its 6% decrease in the same period last year represented measurable strides for the company, said CEO Glenn Murphy. “We’re very pleased with the continued momentum in the business across all brands in North America,” said Murphy. “Our focus remains on offering great product to our customers in order to sustain our business performance.” By brand, Gap North America recorded a 6% Oct. same-store sales gain versus negative 5% last year, Banana Republic North America was up 5% versus up just 1% last year, and Old Navy North America recorded a 5% same-store sales gain versus negative 9% last year.

For the quarter, Gap reported an 8% increase in net sales to $3.86 billion, and it has raised its third-quarter guidance 60% over last year.

At Limited Brands Inc., sales momentum slowed as the October 2012 same-store sales gain of 3% missed Wall Street’s expected 5% rise. Victoria’s Secret was the big disappointment as same-store sales growth slowed to 3% while analysts expected a 6.1% gain.

The Buckle surprised with a 3.8% same-store sales rise, when a decrease of 1.3% was expected.

Other same-store sales results among the specialty retail category include:

  • Wet Seal’s comps dropped 7.6%;
  • Zumiez edged up 0.6%;
  • Cato was flat; and
  • Hot Topic rose 0.2%.
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REAL ESTATE

Mid-America signs 8 restaurants in Greater Chicagoland

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. — Mid-America Asset Management Inc. said it has signed eight restaurant leases Greater Chicagoland shopping centers that the company represents. The leases total more than 42,000 sq. ft.

For Dempster Plaza in Niles, Ill., Mid-America leased 9,600 sq. ft. to Asia restaurant Niles Buffet, which will open in a former Old Country Buffet space in March 2013. The 180,000-sq.-ft. center is anchored by Home Depot, Portillo’s and Jewel/Osco.

Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery will open a 7,540-sq.-ft. restaurant at Southport Plaza in Kenosha, Wis. The eatery is slated to open spring 2014 in the 371,704 Kohl’s- and Petco-anchored center.

For Main Street Commons in St. Charles, Ill., Mid-America leased 6,689 sq. ft. to Bulldog Ale House which will open in November in a former Bennigan’s.

Café Lucci opened a 5,362-sq.-ft. Italian restaurant at Deerfield Village Center in Deerfield, Ill. The restaurant, which opened under the name of “Bobby’s” on October 16, took space vacated by Townhouse Kitchen and joins other existing tenants that include Chipotle, Leather Creations, Sprint and Starbucks.

Saffron Restaurant signed a lease for 5,250 sq. ft. at Westmont Village in Westmont, Ill., a western suburb of Chicago. The Indian restaurant plans to open in January 2013. Anchors of the 160,187-sq.-ft. center include Westbrook Market and Walgreens.

Bella Oliva Pizzaria Grille signed a lease for 4,158 sq. ft. at Shoppes of Windmill Place in Batavia, Ill.; the restaurant is slated to open in late 2012 in the 122,176-sq.-ft. Jewel/Osco-anchored center.

Frozen yogurt franchise Menchie’s signed a lease for 2,112 sq. ft. at Town Square in Schaumburg, Ill., with plans to open in spring 2013. The 65,014-sq.-ft. Town Square is anchored by Dominick’s and located adjacent to the Schaumburg Township District Library.

Smashburger signed a lease for 2,011 sq. ft. at LaGrange Crossing in La Grange, Ill., with plans to open in November 2012. The 67,769-sq.-ft. center is anchored by Trader Joe’s, Pier 1 Imports, Walgreens, AT&T and Corner Bakery Café.

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