FINANCE

Discounting lifts June sales

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — Most retailers surprised Wall Street with better-than-expected monthly sales results in June, as bargains led shoppers to spend more. June is the second most important month on a retailers’ sales calendar behind December. It is June that stores typically clear out summer merchandise to make room for fall goods.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 4.9% rise in June same-store sales, compared with a prior-year increase of 3.1%. Of those retailers who have reported, most are on pace to beat expectations. However, margins will likely show a squeeze as leading retailers were forced to offer deals to prompt spending, a trend that isn’t likely to abate as back-to-school season approaches.

"While consumers showed a willingness to spend, July is where consumers can pull back and think about where they can get bargains," David Bassuk, a managing director at consulting firm AlixPartners, told Reuters.

In the apparel sector, one of the strongest performers in June was Limited Brands, which blew past the predicted 3.8% June gain with a 12% increase in sales, led by a 17% gain from its Victoria’s Secret division. The Buckle also turned in impressive results, with its same-store sales rising 10.8%, edging Wall Street estimates of a 10% gain. Total revenue rose 15.2% to $79.6 million for the four weeks ended July 2.

Gap also showed positive movement, growing same-store sales 1% and total sales 5% in June to $1.38 billion.

“Our multiple growth initiatives are on track, and we’re taking the necessary steps in North America to grow top line sales in the back half of the year,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap.

In other apparel same-store results for June:

  • Zumiez reported a 9.8% increase in sales, beating Wall Street predictions for a 5.6% increase.
  • Wet Seal beat estimates, with a 7.3% increase.
  • Bebe Stores same-store sales rose 7%.
  • Cato same-store sales increased 1%.
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Kmart cooks up a deal with Gordon Ramsay

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Kmart that it will be the exclusive retailer for the new Gordon Ramsay Everyday kitchen collection. The collection will debut in stores this fall and will include cookware, dinnerware, cooking utensils and small kitchen appliances.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with Gordon Ramsay on the Everyday line, allowing us to offer Kmart customers kitchen products made to his exacting standards as a professional chef," said John Goodman, EVP apparel and home for Sears Holdings. "Anyone who has watched Gordon in action knows that he’ll accept nothing less than the best—which is exactly the caliber of home products we want to offer our customers, along with compelling value. The addition of quality cookware to our overall portfolio of trusted brands marks an unprecedented step at Kmart in combining true culinary expertise with accessibility in this category."

Ramsay is a celebrity chef who stars in such culinary competition shows as "Hell’s Kitchen" and "MasterChef." He is also the owner of several highly-regarded restaurants across the globe.

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Former Safeway exec joins commercial brokerage firm

BY CSA STAFF

Former Safeway real estate executive Dan Clayton has joined Denver-based Laramie Company as VP leasing. He previously served as real estate director at Safeway and in his new role will focus on tenant representation and project leasing.

Laramie has 27 years experience in consumer retail, including 17 years focused on commercial real estate and is active in the International Council of Shopping Centers. The Laramie Company is a commercial brokerage and consulting firm specializing in open air retail, entertainment retail and mixed use projects and tenant representation throughout the nation.

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