FINANCE

Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Kohl’s beat November forecasts

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Department store retailers enjoyed a strong November, with nearly all the leading chains topping analysts projections.

Macy’s reported Thursday that its same-store sales rose 6.1% in November, boosted by a strong Black Friday weekend. The company raised its earnings guidance.

Macy’s said its sales were boosted by a strong Black Friday weekend, and strong online sales. Online sales (macys.com and bloomingdales.com combined) were up 31.8% in November, and 28.9% in 2010 year-to-date, compared with the same periods in 2009. (Online sales are included in the same-store sales calculation for Macy’s.)

“We are clearly seeing the results of our omnichannel strategies to integrate stores and online so that we can serve customers no matter how they prefer to shop,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president CEO of Macy’s. “On Black Friday alone, more than 4.5 million shoppers visited macys.com and bloomingdales.com, with a similarly high level of record traffic on Cyber Monday (Nov. 29).

J.C. Penney Co. said that its November same-store sales rose 9.2%. Analysts, on average, had expected same-store sales to rise 3.1%, according to Thomson Reuters.

J.C. Penney said all divisions and regions experienced comparable-store sales growth in November, with shoes and men’s apparel reporting the best results over last year. Geographically, the best performing regions were the central and southwest regions.

At Kohl’s, same-store sales rose 6.1% in November, beating estimates forecasts of a 2.8% increase. Year-to-date, same-store sales rose 4.7%, while total sales rose nearly 8% to $14.37 billion.

The Southeast and South-Central regions outperformed the company, Kohl’s said, and the chain’s footwear business once again reported the strongest comparable store sales for the month.

In other November same-store sales results:

* Saks reported a 5.3% gain, falling far short of analysts’ expectations for a 9.4% increase.
* Bon-Ton Stores’ reported a 2.9% increase; and
* At Dillard’s, sales were up 8%, topping expectations.

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FINANCE

Discounters and warehouse clubs beat expectations in November

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — The nation’s discount retailers and warehouse club operators posted strong sales in November, beating analysts’ expectations. The results were fueled by promotions and cold weather in some parts of the country, as well as strong Black Friday traffic.

Target Corp. said Thursday more shoppers came to its stores in November and spent more than a year earlier, helping to fuel a 5.5% rise in same-store sales during the month. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected a 3.7% gain.

Total sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 27 rose 6% to $6 billion. So far this year, Target’s same-store sales increased 2.4%. Total revenue rose 4% to $51.52 billion.

CEO Gregg Steinhafel said customers were responding to the company’s holiday merchandise and discounts, including a 5% discount it is offering all users of its Target cards.

Costco said Thursday that its November same-store sales surged 9%, helped by the weaker dollar and higher gas prices, better than 6.2% analysts had forecast. Sales were up 7% in its U.S. stores and 13% in its international stores.

Excluding the effect of higher gas prices and the weaker dollar, revenue in stores open at least a year rose 6%.

Food, housewares, jewelry and clothing sold well, electronics less so. Revenue from TVs fell even as Costco sold more TVs, because prices have fallen.

At BJ’s Wholesale Club, November same-store sales were up 5%, with both food and general merchandise sales climbing. Its results topped the 3.9% rise that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected.

The warehouse club operator said its results included 1.2% from gasoline sales. Removing gas sales, the metric rose 3.8%. BJ’s said all major regions reported revenue increases at clubs open at least a year, with the strongest gains in the Southeast. Food sales increased about 4% in November, with general merchandise sales up about 3%.

TJX Cos. said Thursday its November same-store sales rose by 3%. Wall Street analysts had expected the company’s same-store sales to increase by 2.9%,

Ross Stores reported a 6% same-stores gain in November.

Michael Balmuth, CEO, commented, "November sales were better than expected as we benefited from a continued focus on value by consumers that drove healthy traffic to our stores. Merchandise and geographic trends were relatively broad-based. Juniors and Shoes were the strongest merchandise categories, while Florida and Texas were the top performing markets."

Duckwall-Alco Stores said Thursday that November revenue at its stores open at least a year rose 5.8%, buoyed by strong sales of clothing and electronics.

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FINANCE

SpendingPulse Survey shows year-over-year growth

BY CSA STAFF

Purchase, N.Y. — MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report, released Thursday, showed that sales in most retail categories continued to gain momentum over an already strong October showing.

Year-over-year total apparel sales in November saw a 9.6% increase, the largest year-over-year growth in 2010 for that sector following the previous record in October. Total apparel has recorded eight out of 11 months of year-over-year gains so far in 2010. In November, all of the sub-sectors posted year-over-year growth.

For the second consecutive month, the consumer electronics and appliances segment posted a year-over-year decline, although at -1.1%, it was not as severe as October’s decline. The consumer electronics sub-category was down by 1%, while the appliance sub-sector fell by 1.6% year-over-year.

E-commerce returned to double-digit year-over-year growth in November as consumers took advantage of free shipping offers and online-only specials. The category posted a year-over-year increase of 12.0%, the first double-digit growth rate since July, and the largest increase since May. The apparel sub-category rose 22.2%, increasing by double digits for the 12th consecutive month, led mainly by children’s apparel at +33.3%, and footwear at 32.7%. Online sales of electronics were up 6.0%.

Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, said: “Industry sales generally did well in November, building on the positive momentum first observed in September that carried through the early fall. The November retail sales gains indicate a solid start to the 2010 Holiday season for most categories, with some recording significant year-over-year gains.”

The SpendingPulse Luxury ex-Jewelry Index, which encompasses sales at high-end restaurants, food stores, department stores and general apparel categories, posted positive results in November, although not as robust as October, growing 1.6% year-over-year.

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