FINANCE

Euclid: U.S. retail sales grow 5% in May

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco — U.S. retailers reported 5% year-over-year growth in general merchandise, apparel, furniture and other (GAFO) retail sales. According to monthly figures from in-store retail analytics provider Euclid, shoppers made fewer trips to the store than expected, but were very engaged and showed a lot of intent to buy.

Euclid also reported 7% growth year-over-year in clothing and apparel sales and 2% growth year-over-year in general merchandise sales. Shopper traffic declined 11% compared to the same month last year, as travel plans appeared to cannibalize leisure time.

Storefront conversion was up slightly as this May remained more promotional the same month in the prior year, especially leading up to Mother’s Day. Average duration increased 6% from the previous year due to a rebounding interest in more exploratory shopping, following the muted winter months. The increase in visit duration was the most significant driver of positive sales performance in May.

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FINANCE

Men’s Wearhouse tops expectations

BY Staff Writer

Fremont, Calififornia — The Men’s Weahouse reported a decline in first-quarter profit, hurt mostly by expenses. But the retailer’s results still topped Wall Street expectations.

Men’s Wearhouse, which is acquiring smaller rival Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, reported first-quarter net earnings of $16.5, compared with $33 million last year. Results include $26.5 million in costs related to strategic projects, primarily Jos. A. Bank and cost reduction initiatives.

Total sales for the quarter grew 2.3% to $630.5 million from $616.5 million a year ago.

Same-store sales at the company’s namesake brand rose 2.9% for the quarter, while Canadian brand Moores had a 6% increase.

"We are excited about our near-term and long-term opportunities,” said Doug Ewert, Men’s Wearhouse president CEO. “As previously disclosed, the Federal Trade Commission terminated the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended. We now expect to complete the combination of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank within the next few weeks and look forward to achieving the benefits of the combination for our shareholders.”

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FINANCE

Sales, margins hit Sears Hometown Q1 net income

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. had a difficult first quarter of fiscal 2014, reporting a substantial decline in net income as well as drops in net sales and same-store sales. Net income declined 75% to $3.7 million from $15 million.

Lower net sales, lower gross margin rate, and higher selling and administrative expenses all contributed to the steep drop in net income. Net sales in the quarter decreased 1.9% to $589.9 million from $601.1 million in the first quarter of 2013. This decrease was driven primarily by a 6.2% decrease in same-store sales, which was partially caused by growing online sales. Lower initial franchise revenues and lower liquidation revenues on end-of-season markout apparel merchandise received from Sears Holdings also negatively impacted net sales.

Bruce Johnson, CEO and president of Sears Hometown and Outlet, also cited weather and promotions as factors affecting the retailer’s first quarter results.

"First quarter results were affected by three main factors: weather,” said Johnson. “For the second year in a row, lawn and garden sales were negatively impacted by an unseasonably cold spring in many of our trade areas that dampened sales in March and April, following a very cold February that reduced overall store traffic and sales; continued lower margins in Outlet due to insufficient quantities of higher-margin, ‘as-is’ appliances; and a heavily promotional appliance retail environment where appliance retailers layered free delivery on top of discounted pricing."

Repeat visits decreased 1% year-over-year but bounced back from a low in April. Euclid analysis indicates this rebound is another positive sign for sales. The best day of the month was Thursday, May 29, with outperformance across all metrics. The worst day of the month was Sunday, May 4, which saw significant underperformance in traffic. In addition, fewer than expected repeat shoppers were seen on this day.

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