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September sales better than expected; Limited Brands and Abercrombie lead apparel

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Many retailers on Thursday reported better-than-expected sales results for September, helped by a late burst of back-to-school shopping. Based on an aggregate of analysts’ estimates for 30 chains, same-store sales gained 2.3% last month, according to Retail Metrics. The solid results were surprising in that many retailers were up against difficult comparisons from last September, when retailers began to see some relief from the downturn.

“An upside surprise bodes well for the holiday season,” said Ken Perkins, president, Retail Metrics, Swampscott, Mass., in a Bloomberg report. “Back-to-school has a pretty strong correlation to holiday.”

The results, however, weren’t strong across the board. Target, Gap and BJ Wholesale were among the retailers that fell short of analysts’ estimates. Also, some analysts cautioned that sales may have been more heavily weighted to the first half of the month, raising questions about October, and the holiday shopping season.

In the apparel sector, Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s same-store sales climbed 13% in September, helped by strong international sales. The results soundly beat the 3.6% increase analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted.

Total international sales, which include direct-to-consumer sales, surged 94% to $60.3 million for the fiscal month. At Hollister Co., same-store sales rose 9%. This same metric rose 24% at abercrombie kids and 13% at the company’s namesake stores.

Limited Brands also exceeded the Street, reporting that a 12% rise in same-store sales for September at stores open at least one year rose 12%. Analysts, on average, had expected same-store sales to rise 4%. Net sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 2 rose 12.4% to $735.8 million, from $654.8 million in the year-ago period.

At Gap, total same-store sales fell 2%, dragged down by Old Navy. Same-store revenue at Gap stores fell 1%, while Banana Republic same-store revenue was flat, compared with a 12% decline last year. But sales at Old Navy sales dropped 5%. Total Gap sales rose 1% to $1.34 billion.

  • American Eagle Outfitters’ sales rose 4% as the chain also lifted its third-quarter earnings guidance. Analysts, on average, had expected same-store sales to fall 0.8%. Total sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 2 rose 4% to $251 million.
  • Aeropostale beat estimates with a gain of 3%, compared with a projected fall of 2.3%.
  • Buckle’s sales rose 3% in September, surprising Wall Street. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters anticipated a 4.7% decline for the teen retailer.
  • Wet Seal’s revenue dipped 0.7% in September, pinched by lower sales at Arden B. But the results were better than Wall Street expected, and the young women’s retailer to give a rosier outlook for the third quarter.
  • Cato Corp.’s sales rose 2%, better than expected.
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Here comes the Modern Bride line at JCPenney

BY CSA STAFF

Here comes the Modern Bride line at JCPenney

PLANO, Texas – JCPenney announced that it is partnering with Conde Nast to launch Modern Bride, a new line of bridal accessories, to expand its bridal offerings.

The fine jewelery line will launch in February 2011 in stores and online with merchandise targeted primarily to the 25 to 34 year-old customer. The line will include an expanded assortment of bridal jewelery including engagement rings and wedding bands.

"This collaboration with the experts at Conde Nast will allow us to take our bridal business to the next level, creating an even more comprehensive and distinct destination for brides," said Myron Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer of JCPenney. "Conde Nast’s deep understanding of the bridal market and valuable direct connection to potential customers make them the ideal partner, allowing JCPenney to cater to brides who will appreciate the Modern Bride name and continue to shop with JCPenney beyond their wedding day."

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NRF anticipates moderate growth for holiday sales

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NRF anticipates moderate growth for holiday sales

WASHINGTON – One of the world’s largest retail trade associations is projecting that holiday sales will increase by a moderate 2.3% to $447.1 billion.

The National Retail Federation said that while growth remains slightly lower than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 2.5%, it would be a marked improvement from both last year’s 0.4% uptick and the dismal 3.9% holiday sales decline retailers experienced in 2008.

“While many consumers will be wishing for apparel and electronics this holiday season, retailers are hoping the holidays bring sustainable economic growth,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Though the retail industry is on stronger footing than last year, companies are closely watching key economic indicators like employment and consumer confidence before getting too optimistic that the recession is behind them.”

NRF’s holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators, including employment, industrial production, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales reports. NRF defines holiday sales as those made in November and December.

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