News

Examining Long-Term Trends

BY Robert Gordman

The commonly reported monthly comparable-store-sales change provides an interesting snap-shot of one month’s performance. The longer-range trend provides a truer insight into what is actually happening with an individual retailer or in an entire channel. The following analysis highlights retailers that have established consistently improving or declining long-term comparable-store-sales trends.

Observation

After reviewing the releases and the results for February, I think the less said about the month the better. When you take the least important month of the retail year (no reason for the consumer to buy) and combine it with extreme weather shifts (the lowest temperatures nationally in 18 years and 60% more snowfall than a year ago) it makes little sense to attempt to interpret the trend. With the shift in the timing of Easter, March will provide an excellent opportunity to assess the strength and stability of long-term trends.

Quarterly Reporters With a Declining Nine-Month Trend

Source: The Gordman Group
Retailer Last Reported Quarter Last Six Months Last Nine Months
Bombay Co. –15.5% –9.2% –6.6%
Lowe’s –5.3% –4.7% –1.8%
Mens Wearhouse –1.5% 0.7% 1.6%
QVC 7.0% 9.1% 9.4%
Safeway 3.5% 3.6% 3.8%
Staples 1.0% 2.5% 2.9%
Talbots Inc. –1.6% 0.4% 0.7%
Whole Foods Market 6.2% 7.2% 8.0%

Monthly Reporters With an Improving Six-Month Trend

Source: The Gordman Group
Retailer February 2006 February 2007 Previous 90 Days Previous Six Months
BJs 1.6% 3.0% 1.0% 0.6%
Claire’s 4.0% 1.0% 0.6% 0.5%
Hot Topic –8.4% –2.7% –5.2% –5.9%
Jos. A. Bank Clothiers 3.3% 2.8% 2.4% 2.3%
Longs Drug Store 1.9% 2.7% 2.2% 2.0%
Saks, Inc. –6.7% 24.7% 9.9% 9.4%
Sam’s Clubs 4.6% 3.9% 3.0% 2.6%
Target 3.6% 5.7% 4.8% 4.7%
Zumiez 28.0% 12.0% 11.9% 11.4%

Monthly Reporters With a Declining Six-Month Trend

Source: The Gordman Group
Retailer February 2006 February 2007 Previous 90 Days Previous Six Months
Abercrombie & Fitch 5.0% –6.0% –2.5% 0.6%
Chico’s 5.7% –4.3% –1.9% –1.6%
CVS 5.9% 7.0% 8.5% 8.9%
Dillard’s –2.0% –9.0% –4.1% –3.1%
Dress Barn 5.0% 0.0% 5.3% 6.2%
Family Dollar 4.4% –0.5% 1.3% 1.8%
Gymboree 19.0% 1.0% 8.0% 11.5%
Limited Brands 5.0% 3.0% 7.4% 8.4%
Penney 2.3% –0.2% 2.2% 3.4%
Rite-Aid 2.3% 2.2% 3.2% 3.5%
Ross Stores 6.0% 1.0% 1.4% 3.1%
Stage Stores -0.9% 1.4% 2.5% 3.2%
TJX 1.0% 2.0% 4.7% 5.4%
Walgreens 5.7% 8.6% 9.3% 9.7%

Quarterly Reporters With an Improving Nine-Month Trend

Source: The Gordman Group
Retailer Last Reported Quarter Last Six Months Last Nine Months
Amazon 34.0% 30.3% 28.1%
J.Crew 19.0% 17.5% 15.8%
Payless ShoeSource 6.8% 6.0% 4.6%

Visit www.chainstoreage.com for a full listing of monthly sales performance, and click on Monthly Sales under the “Industry Data” headline, on the left column.

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FINANCE

Finish Line 4Q Profit Narrows

BY CSA STAFF

Indianapolis, Finish Line said Thursday the company earned $21.1 million in its fourth quarter, compared with profit of $28.1 million during the same period a year prior. Revenue rose to $429 million from $399.2 million.

Expenses for the quarter rose to $93.9 million from $85.1 million. The company also saw an asset impairment charge of $7.5 million compared with $2.5 million a year ago. Comp-store sales fell 5.4% during the quarter.

For the full year, the company earned $32.4 million.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Sharper Image, OfficeMax Partner

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco, Sharper Image has announced a multi-year licensing agreement with OfficeMax. The agreement with OfficeMax is the first to be announced by Sharper Image’s newly created brand licensing division.

Under the agreement, OfficeMax will offer Sharper Image branded office furniture and accessories made exclusively for OfficeMax under the Sharper Image Office brand. Products will include desks, chairs, shredders, desk sets, accessories and related items. The first product collection is currently rolling out into OfficeMax stores, with additional collections to debut throughout and beyond 2007.

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