Retailers Post Steep Sales Declines in October
New York City U.S. retailers on Thursday reported the weakest October sales since at least 1969, amid a financial crisis that has kept shoppers away from the stores. The decline in sales from an already weak September performance further darkens the outlook for the holiday season.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. proved to be among the few bright spots as shoppers continue to focus on buying basics. But other discounters did not fare so well. Even warehouse-club operator Costco Wholesale Corp. posted disappointing results.
According to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs index, sales fell 1%, the weakest October performance since 1969 when the index began. That compares to a 1% gain in September and well below the 1.8% average pace so far this fiscal year, which for retailers begins in February. Excluding Wal-Mart, the October sales number was down 4.6%. The index is based on same-store sales, or sales at stores opened at least a year, which are considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health
Wal-Mart posted a 2.4% gain in same-store sales, beating Wall Street projections for a 1.6% gain. Including fuel sales, same-store sales rose 2.5%.
At Sam’s Club, its warehouse-club division, fresh food, dry groceries and other consumables were strong. Weaker categories included electronics, jewelry and home-related products, the company said.
Target Corp. posted a 4.8% drop, worse than the 2.8% decline that analysts had expected. Costco, hurt by currency effects, reported a 1% decline in October. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a gain of 3.6%.
TJX Cos. said Thursday its same-store sales fell 6% in October, more than analysts predicted, as international results were hurt by a stronger U.S. dollar.
TJX said results were hurt by the “precipitous drop” in foreign-currency exchange rates vs. the U.S. dollar. Excluding the drop in exchange rates, same-store sales fell 1%.
TJX said despite the results, traffic is up across most of its divisions and it is gaining market share.
Report: Target launches new fashion program
NEW YORK According to reports, Target is launching a new fashion program, Target Designer Collaborations, with an apparel line by Alexander McQueen.
The McQueen collection, called McQ Alexander McQueen for Target will be available in stores next spring.
Target’s fashion push comes shortly after the company announced that it would limit store openings and would consider a proposal for the spin-off of its real estate business.
Fresh & Easy to open stores in Bakersfield, Calif.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market announced it will open its first two stores in Bakersfield, Calif. on Dec. 3. Fresh & Easy currently has five announced locations in Kern County.
“At Fresh & Easy, we offer fantastic products at incredible prices so you don’t have to compromise on what you feed your family,” said Fresh & Easy ceo Tim Mason. “We look forward to bringing great jobs and quality, affordable food to neighborhoods in Kern County.”