Gap and Costco shine in June
New York — Same-store sales increased 3.9% in June compared to the year-ago period, according to a preliminary tally of 12 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers. The association had expected a 3% to 3.5% increase.
According to Thomson Reuters, Wall Street expects an overall 3.6% increase in June same-store sales, which would be a bump over May’s 3.4% showing, but down 1.8% year-over-year.
"Excluding drug stores, the preliminary tally actually rose by a very strong 5.3% in June, which would be the strongest reading since August of 2012,” said Michael P. Niemira, VP of research and chief economist for ICSC. “Overall, these data continue to paint an improving picture after a ‘softer’ first quarter (February-April) and are encouraging as we move into the second fiscal quarter of the year.”
Of the handful of retailers still reporting monthly same-store sales, Gap Inc. and Costco Corp. were standouts.
At Gap Inc., same-store sales rose a better-than-expected 7%, boosted by a 13% rise at Old Navy.
“We are pleased with our June sales results,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap Inc. “Old Navy’s performance was particularly strong.”
Costco Corp. reported a better-than-expected 6% uptick.
"We get no sense from the company’s results that it is feeling any macroeconomic pressure at all," Cowen & Co analyst Faye Landes told Reuters.
The warehouse club operator got a boost from increased fuel prices. June net sales rose 8% to $9.92 billion.
However, L Brands Inc., formerly Limited Brands and parent to Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, saw flat June same-store sales, below the Wall Street forecast of a 2% rise and missing internal expectations as well.
Same-store sales at Victoria’s Secret stores fell 1%, a dismal performance after its 11% rise in the year-ago period. Total L Brand sales for the month edged up to $1.101 billion from $1.077 billion last year.
Among other retailers reporting:
- The Buckle same-store sales rose 3.4%, missing Wall Street forecasts;
- Stein Mart rose 6.5%;
- Cato edged up 1%;
- Fred’s recorded a 4.5% uptick; and
- Perfumania Holdings dipped 0.7%.
Uniqlo to branch out in U.S. this fall with 10 stores
NEW YORK — Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo, a division of Fast Company, is expanding its U.S. footprint with the opening of 10 stores this fall in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California.
The new locations, all in shopping centers, will bring the brand’s presence in the United States to a total of 17 sites.
Uniqlo will open two stores in New Jersey at Bridgewater Commons Mall in Bridgewater and Menlo Park Mall in Edison; three stores in New York at Atlantic Terminal Mall in Brooklyn, Staten Island Mall in Staten Island and Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove; one store in Connecticut at Trumbull Shopping Center in Trumbull, Conn.; and four stores in California at Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo, Westfield Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco and Bay Street in Emeryville.
“Uniqlo is ready to take our next step in our U.S. expansion by opening more smaller-format and mall stores in the regions surrounding our current flagships stores in the Tri-State and Northern California regions,” said Larry Meyer, COO of Uniqlo’s USA business and Fast Retailing Group SVP. “Our goal is to continue to build brand awareness for new potential customers, and greater loyalty from our fans, with more convenient access to our high quality clothing and exceptional customer service.”
Hispanic employees file suit against Target for discrimination
Fresno, Calif. — Three former Target employees have filed suit against Target Corp., alleging that the retailer discriminated against them for being Hispanic.
The trio, which filed the suit on June 24 in Yolo County, Calif., cited a training document that reminded Target store managers that not all Hispanics eat tacos and burritos, dance to salsa or wear sombreros. They also alleged that Woodland, Calif., warehouse workers used racial slurs when addressing Hispanic workers.
Target has not commented, other than to say that it was sorry for the content of the document and that it was not part of a "formal or company-wide training" and was used only at one distribution center.