FINANCE

ICSC: September sales post 4.0% increase; drug stores strongest performing segment

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — U.S. chain-store sales posted a gain of 4.0% for the fiscal month of September on a year-over-year basis according to a tally compiled by the International Council of Shopping Centers. Excluding gasoline sales, the September tally would actually be +5.1%.

“The biggest story line here is that the September performance was led by the drug-store segment, posting its strongest monthly showing since April 2007,” said Michael P. Niemira, VP of research and chief economist for ICSC. “This seemingly heralds the full recovery of this segment after an extended period of weakness due to several mitigating factors.”

Drug-store sales rose by 6.0% in September. Apparel was the weakest performing segment, posting a 0.1% gain (preliminary number does not include Gap Inc.).
For October, ICSC research anticipates that comparable-store sales will increase between 3% and 4.0%. However, the backdrop of the federal government shutdown does have the potential to curb spending during the month, biasing the October expectations to a slightly weaker performance even on the heels of a strong gain in September.

The ICSC Chain Store Sales Trends is a monthly report on the U.S. retail industry’s sales performance based on an ICSC preliminary compilation of publicly-available sales for 11 chain stores during the month of September. Industry sales aggregates are compiled for "comparable-store" or "same-store" sales and for total store sales. Those data are presented as an index.

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REAL ESTATE

Whole Foods Market to open in Newark, N.J.

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Whole Foods Market has signed a lease for a 29,000-sq-ft. store in Newark, N.J., according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

The store is expected to be an anchor tenant in a 112-year-old landmark building that was once occupied by the Hahne & Co. department store. The building is being converted into a multi-use space that will feature apartments, retail and office space.
The project is a joint partnership between the Newark-based Hanini Group and L&M Development Partners of New York.

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FINANCE

Retailers report tepid same-store sales for September

BY Staff Writer

New York — Retailers reported somewhat disappointing same-store sales for September. While only a handful of chains still report their monthly revenues, the tepid results of those that do raised concerns about the upcoming holiday season.

Gap Inc. reported that its same-store sales in September 2013 net sales were down 3% versus a 6% increase for September 2012. Net sales were flat compared with last year, totaling $1.46 billion compared with net sales of $1.45 billion for the year-ago period.

"While September proved to be somewhat challenging, we remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver on our full-year goals," said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap Inc.

In other September same-store sales results:

  • L Brands Inc. (formerly Limited Brands) said sales rose 1%, short of Wall Street’s view. It also said it plans to sell $500 million in new debt.
  • The Buckle reported a 4.5% drop, below market expectations for a 1.2% increase, according to Thomson Reuters.
  • Cato Corp. reported a 3% drop.
  • Stein Mart’s sales increased 5%, driven by strength in linens, women’s clothing and gifts.
  • At Zumiez, sales fell 0.6%, in line with what analysts were expecting.
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