FINANCE

Kohl’s tops Street, J.C. Penney misses

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Kohl’s Corp. reported a 3.9% rise in same-store sales in October, better than analysts’ expectations, amid strong demand for its new Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony brands.

In a statement, CEO Kevin Mansell said that customers responded favorably to the pair of new brands, as well as the company’s marketing programs.

“As we enter the important fourth quarter, we plan to continue our investment in marketing, especially digital and broadcast, to drive customer traffic and broaden our reach,” he said.

Macy’s reported that its same-store sales rose 2.2% in October, missing analysts’ estimates of 3.6%. The retailer said sales were hurt by the snowstorm at the end of the month and warm weather in the rest of the month.

“Sales of cold-weather products such as coats, hats and sweaters were soft for most of October as the weather stayed unseasonable warm, but they began to normalize once temperatures turned cooler,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO, Macy’s. “Ironically, sales were negatively impacted by the snowstorm in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states last Saturday, the final sales day of the October period.”

The retailer said sales were also hurt by the company’s decision to move its Shop For A Cause event, where customers donate to local charities in exchange for access to sales, from October to August.

Macy’s noted that same-store sales rose 4% in the third quarter, which covers August through October, and that it expects the metric to rise 4 to 4.5% in the fourth quarter.
At J.C. Penney, same-store sales fell 2.6% in October. Analysts, on average, had expected the metric to rise 1%. Total sales for the four weeks ended Oct. 29 fell 6.6% to $1.19 billion.

While sales overall were soft, women’s apparel and accessories experienced sales gains, the company said, and the Southeast was the top performing region.

Luxury department stores, which had benefited from brisk spending in recent months, showed weakness in October. At Saks, same-store sales rose 1.8% compared to the 5.4% gain that analysts had expected. Nordstrom had a 5.4% increase, below the 6.4% gain that Wall Street expected.

  • Dillard’s sales soared 8%. Analysts, on average, had expected same-store sales to rise 3.7%.
  • The Bon-Ton Stores’ sales fell 10.2%. Net revenue fell 10.4% to $192 million. The chain cut its guidance for the year on Thursday, saying it could report a loss, and also lowered its predictions for yearly cash flow.
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FINANCE

October sales generally up, but short of estimates; Buckle leads apparel

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Consumer spending slowed in October, sending a note of caution as retailers head into the holiday season. Eleven retailers missed expectations for same-store sales, while three chains beat estimates, according to a preliminary tally by Thomson Reuters. However, while the October results were not as promising as some retailers had hoped, sales for the most part rose and most chains reported results that were only slightly off from analysts’ estimates. Some analysts blamed Wall Street for underestimating how much caution is still out there.

"This is expectations getting ahead of reality," said AlixPartners managing director Joel Bines, in an Associated Press report. "It’s still a solid performance.”

October is the third-smallest month for sales.

Costco, Macy’s, Saks and Target are among the companies that reported results that fell slightly below Wall Street analysts’ expectations.

Limited Brands reported a 6% rise in same-store sales, just off the 6.2% expected, and raised its third-quarter earnings outlook. Victoria’s Secret stores led the growth, with a 9% jump in same-stores sales. Bath & Body Works reported a 6% rise.

On the apparel side, The Buckle reported an 8.7% rise in comparable-store sales, better than the 6.3% that was projected. American Eagle Outfitters, which no longer reports monthly sales, raised the low end of its third-quarter profit guidance, and said third-quarter revenue rose 11%, with a 5% rise in same-store sales. Both were better than analysts had expected.

Other apparel same-store sales results for October included:

  • Zumiez reported a 3.3% increase, ahead of analysts’ expectations for 2.8%.
  • Wet Seal’s same-store sales fell 9.7%, well-below expectations, and the company lowered its quarterly profit outlook.
  • Gap Inc.’s sales fell 6%, worse than expected. By division, sales were down 5% at namesake stores, 9% at Old Navy and 7% internationally. Sales were up 1% at Banana Republic.
  • Cato Corp.’s sales fell 3%.
  • Hot Topic reported a 1.6% decrease, citing disappointing sales for its Halloween-related merchandise.
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News

Walmart answers the ‘Call of Duty’ with early game preview

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Customers who can’t wait to get their hands on the latest "Call of Duty" video game are in for some good news courtesy of Walmart. The retailer announced that on Nov. 7 in more than 2,700 stores customers can play "Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3." The event begins at 8 p.m. (local time) and will include tournaments and the chance to win double experience points withevery purchase of specially-marked 20-packs of Mountain Dew, exclusively at Walmart.

"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, " is predicted to be one of the top-selling video games for Christmas, officially goes on sale at 12 a.m. Nov. 8, Walmart said.

"Walmart is the destination for all gamers this holiday season," said Seong Ohm, SVP entertainment, Walmart U.S. "When it comes to entertainment, Walmart offers unbelievable prices on the widest assortment of gaming devices from brand name consoles to new releases."

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