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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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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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Survey: Social media for brand conversations on the rise

BY Marianne Wilson

Cincinnati — Americans are increasing their use of social media for discussions about favorite brands, while slowing down on face-to-face and phone conversations about product likes and dislikes, according to a report by Colloquy, the research arm of LoyaltyOne, a global provider of loyalty and marketing programs.

Social media brand recommendations have grown 4% since Colloquy conducted survey research in 2011 on the word-of-mouth habits of U.S. consumers, while face-to-face recommendations have declined 4% in that time period.

In another key finding from Colloquy’s Hashtags, Tweets and Likes, nearly half of the general population believes social networks are an inappropriate way for brands to interact with customers. But that sentiment isn’t shared across the board. The research shows that 73% of the youth segment said it is appropriate.

Colloquy’s 2013 WOM study is based on a June 2013 survey conducted among a representative general population group and five other segments. The segments are affluent consumers, young adults, seniors, core women and Hispanics. Results are based on responses from 2980 U.S. survey participants.

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