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July sales edge up, even as Costco disappoints; Gap upbeat on Q2

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Costco Wholesale Corp. fell slightly short of estimates in July even as most other retailers who still report same-store monthly sales outperformed expectations.

The warehouse club giant reported a 5% rise in same-store sales for July, excluding gasoline, falling short of estimates for a 5.7% increase. The company said foreign currencies had a slightly negative impact. It was the first time in five months that Costco’s sales have increased less than expected. Costco’s total revenue for the month increased 9% to $8.55 billion.

Gap Inc. reported better-than-expected July sales results, and provided an upbeat second-quarter earnings outlook. Same-store sales increased 2%, above analyst expectations of a 0.1% rise. Total sales for the four-weeks ending Aug. 2 rose 5% to $1.17 billion.

L Brands reported a better than expected 6% increase, easily beating estimates for a 1.8% increase. Total revenue rose 6% to $2.68 billion.

In other July results:

• The Buckle said sales edged up 0.5%, slightly better than expected.
• Cato Corporation posted a 4% increase in same-store sales. The chain reported sales of $65.3 million for the four weeks ended August 2, 2014, up 6% from last year.
• Zumiex reported a better-than-expected 3.5% increase in same-store sales.
• Stein Mart posted a 1.3% comparable store sales.

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Market Force: Consumers ranks Cheesecake Cake as favorite casual-dining chain

BY Staff Writer

Boulder, Colo. — Cheesecake Factory is North America’s favorite casual-dining chain, according to a study by Market Force Information. More than 6,100 consumers were polled for the study, which ranks the top restaurant chains in five categories: general menu, breakfast, steak, Italian and seafood. Cheesecake Factory was tops in the general menu category, receiving high marks for quality of food, healthiness of food and atmosphere.

For the rankings, Market Force asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their most recent casual-dining experience and their likelihood to refer that restaurant to others, with the results averaged to attain a Composite Loyalty Score.

Out of the largest restaurant chains that offer general menus, Cheesecake Factory scored highest with 61%, Cracker Barrel ranked second with 58%, Red Robin was third with 47%, Ruby Tuesday and Buffalo Wild Wings tied for fourth with 46%, and Chili’s Bar and Grill rounded out the top five with 44%.

Nearly half (46%) of the survey participants said they patronize casual dining restaurants at least five-times per month, and 57% said they plan on spending a minimum of $10 per person when they do.

When asked about their dining habits this year compared to 2013, 12% said they have dined out more, 28% have dined out less and 60% about the same.

The study also ranked chains in other food categories and found:

• Maggiano’s is the favorite Italian chain
• The Capital Grille is the favorite steakhouse
• Pappadeaux is the favorite seafood chain
• Mimi’s is the favorite breakfast spot

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Report: Twitter may be considering e-commerce

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – Twitter is reportedly making moves that indicate it is considering launching e-commerce services. According to The Next Web, users of the Twitter Android app are reporting a dormant “Payment & Shipping” option appearing in the settings menu.

(Click here for analysis)

In June, an inactive “buy now” button began appearing in tweets relating to the Fancy e-commerce site. In addition, previous media reports have indicated that internal Twitter documents show plans for e-commerce, and that Twitter may be negotiating a deal with online payment provider Stripe.

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