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Macy’s, Kohl’s have positive January results

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Department store retailers reported strong sales in January as shoppers responded positively to post-holiday clearance events.

Overall, the 20 retailers reporting January comps saw an average rise of 5.1%, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, which beat the mall trade group’s 3% forecasted rise.

Macy’s reported an 11.7% rise in January same-store sales, as well as a total sales increase of 34.6% to $1.799 billion. “Simply put, January was an outstanding month for Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s,” said Terry Lundgren, president and CEO. “Clearly, our strategies are resonating with customers as they shop in our stores, online and via mobile.”

For fiscal 2012 as a whole, Macy’s sales totaled $27.686 billion, up 4.9% from $26.405 billion in fiscal 2011. On a same-store basis, Macy’s fiscal 2012 sales were up 3.7%.

Kohl’s also posted strong results in January. Same-store sales increased 13.3%, benefiting from an extra week, as did all retailers.

“Our January performance allowed us to accomplish our goal of clearing seasonal merchandise and we are happy with the balance and strength of our inventory across regions and categories as we enter fiscal 2013,” said Kevin Mansell, president and CEO, Kohl’s Corp.

Nordstrom reported an 11.4% rise in January same-store sales, and Bon-Ton dipped 0.4%.

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Discount sector posts strong January showing

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — There were few missteps among the discounters in January, as most posted strong results, many surpassing Wall Street expectations.

Target reported a same-store sales rise of 3.1%, topping Wall Street expectations. Total sales surged 29.6% to $5.97 billion in January.

“January comparable-store sales were in line with our expectations as guests responded to clearance prices on holiday inventory," said Gregg Steinhafel, president and CEO, Target Corp. "Our guests continue to shop with discipline in the face of a slow economic recovery and new pressures, including recent payroll tax increases. As a result, we remain focused on providing unbeatable value combined with a superior guest experience in both our stores and digital channels.”

Warehouse club operator Costco posted a 4% same-store sales rise in January and a 7% total sales gain to $9.35 billion.

TJX Cos. also showed its muscle in January, reporting a 3% rise in same-store sales and upping its fourth-quarter and full-year guidance.

Among the other discounters that reported January comps:

  • Ross Dress for Less rose 4%;
  • SteinMart increased 4.6%;
  • Fred’s increased a hefty 28.6%; and
  • Alco posted a 21.4% rise with fuel, but dipped 1% without.

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Retail sales results mixed in January

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Although there were some surprising gains among retailers in January, for the most part results were expectedly mixed, as consumers took a hit on their take-home pay from higher payroll taxes but cooler weather gave a boost to others.

Costco Wholesale Corp. edged Wall Street expectations with a 4% same-store sales increase in January; analysts forecast a 3.9% advance. TJX Cos. reported a 3% rise in monthly same-store sales, and raised its fourth quarter and full-year outlook. Kohl’s shone with a 13.3% rise, but The Buckle widely missed with a 2% drop.

Overall, analysts expect 3.5% same-store sales growth for January across 18 retailers, excluding Walgreens and Rite-Aid, according to Thomson Reuters. That would be down from 4.4% growth in January 2012.

Most of the specialty store players performed well in January. Gap saw same-store sales rise 8% in January, handily beating Wall Street’s expected 4% gain. By brand, same-store sales rose 12% at Old Navy and 8% at both Gap and Banana Republic. Total revenue for the month rose 28% to $1.13 billion.

“We’re pleased with the continued momentum in the business across all our brands in North America,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO, Gap Inc. “As we transition to 2013, our focus remains on delivering compelling product in order to sustain our positive sales performance.”

The Limited also delivered a strong January showing. Same-store sales surged 9%, and total sales rose to $986.4 million from $774.5 million.

Wet Seal, on the other hand, disappointed with a steep same-store sales decline of 9.4%, far wider than the 2.3% drop expected by Wall Street. The struggling retailer found some success with its Arden B chain, which rose 22.8% on a same-store basis, but namesake stores plummeted 13.4%.

Other specialty store results include:

  • The Buckle dropped 2%, while analysts expected a 1.3% gain;
  • Hot Topic rose 2.6%;
  • Cato dropped 12%;
  • Stage rose 10.5%; and
  • Zumiez same-store sales rose 2.6%.

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