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Department Stores Struggle

BY CSA STAFF

New York City The ongoing economic crisis continued to take a toll on department stores as they headed into the holiday shopping season. Macy’s Inc. said Thursday that same-store sales fell 13.3%, hurt by fewer post-Thanksgiving shopping days during the period compared with last year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected same-store sales to fall 12.1%.

Total sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 29 fell 14% to $2.33 billion from $2.71 billion last year.

Year-to-date, same-store sales fell 4.8% while total sales fell 6% to $19.29 billion from $20.43 billion a year ago.

The company said sales on the day after Thanksgiving were strong, but results were hurt by a later Thanksgiving, which lead to fewer post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping days compared with the prior year period. The late Thanksgiving date was also cited by other retailers as impacting their results.

Macy’s said it still expects same-store sales during the fiscal fourth quarter ending in January to be down 1% to 6%.

In other results:

  • Nordstrom Inc.’s same-store sales plunged 15.9% in November, but its results still topped Wall Street expectations. Year-to-date sales decreased 6.2% to $6.68 billion, while same-store-sales fell 8.6%;
  • Kohl’s Corp. said its same-store sales for November fell 17.5%, compared to the target for a loss of 16.6% in a survey of Wall Street analysts by Thomson Reuters. Total sales dipped 13.7% to $1.75 billion. “November sales results were as expected, affected by both lower traffic than last year, and a significant sales shift due to a later Thanksgiving,” Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s president and CEO, commented. “Post-Thanksgiving results have been significantly stronger than our prior trend, driven by planned strong promotion”;
  • J. C. Penney Co.’s same-store sales decreased 11.9% for the four-week period ended Nov. 29, in line with the company’s guidance for a low double-digit decrease. Total company sales in November slipped 11.5%. For the November period, women’s apparel and family shoes were the top-performing merchandise divisions, while fine jewelry continued to experience softer sales performance. Geographically, the best-performing area of the country was the Northwest region;
  • Saks Inc.’s November same-store sales fell 5.2%, better than Wall Street had expected thanks to strength in some apparel categories. Total sales for the four-weeks ended Nov. 29 came in at $332.9, down 4.2% from the year ago period;
  • Dillard’s said its same-store sales dropped by 9% in November, less than analysts had expected. Total sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 29 fell to $505.8 million last month from $559.3 million a year ago; and
  • The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.’s same-store sales fell 16% in November. Total sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 29 fell 16% to $332.3 million from $393.1 million last year. Best-sellers during the month included seasonal products, accessories, outerwear and shoes. Weaker categories included furniture, juniors, petite sportswear and men’s sportswear.

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Best Buy: Americans concerned about buying the right gift

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS A recent Best Buy nationwide survey found that three-quarters of Americans, while concerned about price, say that getting someone the right gift is their number one priority. In addition, when it comes to consumer electronics gifts, customers say assurance and advice are top priorities when they are making purchase decisions.

The Best Buy survey shows one out of four consumers (25%), believe the right gift this year is consumer electronics, and price isn’t all that drives their decisions. When buying electronics gifts, shoppers want a retailer that offers a good return policy (85%), post purchase technical support (80%), price matching for their purchases (79%) and knowledgeable salespeople to provide good advice (76%).

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Whole Foods add new board members

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods Market announced that it recently has added four new members to its board of directors, bringing the size of the board to ten.

The new board members include Stephanie Kugelman, vice chairman emeritus of Young & Rubicam Inc. and chairman of A Second Opinion strategic consulting group, and Kip Tindell, chairman and ceo of The Container Store. Additionally, Jonathan Seiffer, partner, and Jonathan Sokoloff, managing partner, both of Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. (LGP), have also joined the board in connection with LGP’s recent preferred stock investment in Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods Market closed its sale of preferred stock to LGP today.

“These four talented leaders bring unique wisdom and complement the experience of our current board members,” said John Mackey, chairman, ceo, and co-founder of Whole Foods Market. “In this challenging economic environment, we feel fortunate to have this fresh addition of intellectual capital.”

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