October Sales on the Rise
New York City, Early tabulations of October sales show some strong performances. Comparable-store sales rose 31.0% at Abercrombie & Fitch, 21.2% at Shoe Carnival, 12.8% at Deb Shops, 14.9% at Stage Stores, 17.3% at American Eagle, 16.2% at Joseph A. Bank and 17.9% at Chico’s FAS.
According to Richard Hastings, VP and senior retail analyst for Bernard Sands, based in New York City, success for many chains in October was determined by three words: merchandising, merchandising, merchandising. “Retailers with the right presentation and right combination of fresh styles and promotions hit the jackpot. Specialty retailers such as Chico’s, Talbots and Abercrombie have their wardrobing and merchandising and service totally nailed down,” he wrote.
The Gap Inc. suffered another negative month, with comps declining 5.0% in October. Wal-Mart Stores posted a 4.3% increase, while rival Target Corp.’s comps increased 5.7%.
Report: Linens ‘n Things Negotiations Heat Up
Clifton, N.J., Linens ‘n Things is reportedly in advanced talks to be acquired by Apollo Management, a New York City-based private equity group, for about $1.2 billion. The retailer, based in Clifton, N.J., put itself up for sale in September.
Poll Reveals Cautious Consumers
Costa Mesa, Calif., According to the latest Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index (SM) survey, 32% of consumers expect to spend less this year, while just 12% expect to spend more and 56% expect to spend about the same.
“Consumers cite financial factors, especially the price of energy, but also general price increases and lower income as the major reasons why they will spend less,” said Ed Ojdana, group president of Experian Interactive. “About half of all consumers expect to spend $500 or less, while the other half expect to spend more than $500. About a third of consumers, 34%, expect to spend at least $1,000.”
In light of financial difficulties, the vast majority of consumers expect to limit their spending to the amount of money they have on hand. Only 12% say that their holiday spending will increase their credit-card debt.
About one in five households, 22%, will have extra money available this holiday season in the form of a holiday bonus from their employer. Most will use at least part of it to cover holiday expenses, while others will use some of it to help pay off current debt or make a special purchase. About half will save or invest at least part of the bonus.