FINANCE

Macy’s shines, Kohl’s disappoints in February

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Results were mixed among the department store players in February, as Macy’s turned in a strong performance and Kohl’s missed expectations.

For the month, Macy’s reported a same-store sales gain of 4.6%, beating the 3.5% rise anticipated by Wall Street. Online sales for the operator of Bloomingdale’s and its namesake banner surged 31.3%, boosting the same-store sales percentage advance. Total revenue in February increased 5.5% to $1.86 billion.

"We saw good consumer response to our early spring deliveries in women’s apparel, and continued strong trends in accessories, shoes, cosmetics, men’s and home, which bodes well for the months ahead," said Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chairman, president and CEO.

Kohl’s Corp., on the other hand, saw same-store sales dip 0.8% after Wall Street predicted a break-even month. Total sales edged up 1.1% in the month.

“February’s sales results were as expected. From a regional perspective, the cold weather regions – Midwest and Northeast – outperformed the company average for the month,” said Kevin Mansell, chairman, president and CEO.

Among the other department stores reporting in February:

  • Nordstrom same-store sales rose 10.2%, solidly beating Wall Street’s expected 5.6% gain;

  • Saks rose 6.6%, edging the expected 5.5% rise; and

  • Bon-Ton Stores inched up 0.7%.

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FINANCE

Discounters show strength in February; Target sales up 7%

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — In a month that was solid overall, the discount sector showed its muscle, turning in a strong February same-store sales performance nearly across the board.

After suggesting last week that sales had accelerated and returned to a pre-holiday pace, Target Corp. reported Thursday that same-store sales for the month rose 7%, beating Wall Street’s expected 5.2%. Total sales during the period rose 8% to $5.13 billion, boosted by strength in the food, healthcare and beauty categories. Accessories and apparel performed above average as well.

Meanwhile, The TJX Cos. saw same-store sales surge 9%, beating the 7% gain expected by Wall Street. Sales for the four-week period ended Feb. 25 were $1.6 billion, up 12% over last year’s $1.5 billion. “We believe that very favorable weather patterns during the month helped boost demand for spring apparel,” said Carol Meyrowitz, CEO.

Additionally, Costco Wholesale Corp. was another winner during the month, posting an 8% same-store sales rise, just edging the predicted 7.6% gain. Earlier, the membership club reported a quarterly profit rise of 13% to $394 million.

Other February same-store results among the discounter category included:

  • Ross Stores same-store sales rose 9%, beating Wall Street’s expected 4.6% rise;

  • SteinMart rose 0.7%, missing the predicted 1% gain;

  • Cato same-store sales dropped 5%;

  • Stage Stores rose 3.7%;

  • Fred’s dipped 0.7%, missing analysts’ expected 0.2% gain; and

  • Duckwall-Alco same-store sales rose 1.1%.

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Seven is Target’s lucky number for 2012 fiscal year

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — What a way to begin the new fiscal year. Target reported a stunning 7% same-store sales increase in February that shattered the company’s guidance for a 4% gain thanks to unseasonably warm weather, which boosted shopper traffic and transaction sizes.

The sales increases was well above the company’s expectation, which prompted chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel to say, “We’re very pleased with the pace of our sales since the holiday season, though we continue to plan for a first quarter comparable store sales increase of around 4%.”

The company said every region of the county experienced a healthy increase in comparable-store sales and inventories were in good condition.

Comparable-store sales across the company’s various merchandise categories experienced increases. Food comps increased in the low teens. Comparable-store sales in household essentials increased in the mid single-digit range, with the strongest performance in healthcare and beauty. Comparable-store sales growth in apparel and accessories was slightly ahead of overall company performance, led by double-digit growth in women’s apparel, performance activewear and men’s apparel.

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