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Specialty Retailers Fall in November

BY CSA STAFF

New York City The downturn in consumer spending hit the nation’s mall-based specialty retailers hard in November, as many leading chains posted drops in same-store sales. In some cases, however, the drops were not as bad as many analysts has predicted.

There were also some exceptions to the downturn.  Hot Topic Inc.’s November same-store sales rose 6.5%. Analysts has estimated same-store sales to fall 0.1%.

Hot Topic’s total November sales rose 9% to $61.3 million from a year ago.

In other results:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch, which has resisted deep discounting, saw a 28% same-store sales drop, worse than the 25.6% analysts expected. Same-store sales fell 25% at namesake stores; 35% at its abercrombie children’s stores; 29% at Hollister stores; and 29% at its newest division, Ruehl. Total sales for the four-week period ended Nov. 29 fell 24% to $267.3 million;
  • Chico’s FAS Inc. said its November sales at stores open at least one year fell 15.4%, the exact figure predicted by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters. Net sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 29 fell 11.3% to $118.5 million;
  • Limited Brands Inc. said Thursday that same-store sales sank 12% in November as shoppers scaled back their discretionary spending, which was slightly worse than Wall Street expectations. Overall net sales for the month also fell 12% to $755.6 million, from $858.7 million during the same period last year;
  • Gap Inc. reported net sales of $1.39 billion for the four-week period ended Nov. 29, down 10% from the four-week period ended Dec. 1, 2007. The company’s comparable-store sales for November 2008 fell 10%;
  • The Wet Seal Inc. said that November same-store sales fell 13.9%, a bigger drop than analysts predicted, as the company’s Arden B chain continued to be a drag on results. The company said the shift of Thanksgiving hurt results, with only two post-Thanksgiving shopping days during the period compared with nine last year. Total sales for the four-week period ended Nov. 29 fell 13% to $46 million;
  • Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. said its November same-store sales fell 10% citing sales decreases in all of its regions except the Midwest. The decline was better that the 14.3% analysts expected. Total sales for the month fell 8% to $101 million from $110.2 million in November 2007.
  • American Eagle Outfitters’ same-store sales 11% in November, compared to the estimate for a decline of 15.2%. Total November sales fell 5% to $272.8 million;
  • The Children’s Place Retail Stores Inc. reported its November same-store sales decreased 7%, more than analysts expected. The company said net sales for the four-week period ended Nov. 29 fell 3% to $156.6 million from net sales of $160.9 million for the four-week period ended Dec. 1, 2007; and
  • Stage Stores Inc. said its November same-store sales slipped 8%, hurt by a shift in the timing of Thanksgiving. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a bigger same-store sales decline of 14%. Total monthly sales dropped 4.8% to $124.4 million from $130.7 million.
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Best Buy: Americans concerned about buying the right gift

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS A recent Best Buy nationwide survey found that three-quarters of Americans, while concerned about price, say that getting someone the right gift is their number one priority. In addition, when it comes to consumer electronics gifts, customers say assurance and advice are top priorities when they are making purchase decisions.

The Best Buy survey shows one out of four consumers (25%), believe the right gift this year is consumer electronics, and price isn’t all that drives their decisions. When buying electronics gifts, shoppers want a retailer that offers a good return policy (85%), post purchase technical support (80%), price matching for their purchases (79%) and knowledgeable salespeople to provide good advice (76%).

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Whole Foods add new board members

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods Market announced that it recently has added four new members to its board of directors, bringing the size of the board to ten.

The new board members include Stephanie Kugelman, vice chairman emeritus of Young & Rubicam Inc. and chairman of A Second Opinion strategic consulting group, and Kip Tindell, chairman and ceo of The Container Store. Additionally, Jonathan Seiffer, partner, and Jonathan Sokoloff, managing partner, both of Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. (LGP), have also joined the board in connection with LGP’s recent preferred stock investment in Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods Market closed its sale of preferred stock to LGP today.

“These four talented leaders bring unique wisdom and complement the experience of our current board members,” said John Mackey, chairman, ceo, and co-founder of Whole Foods Market. “In this challenging economic environment, we feel fortunate to have this fresh addition of intellectual capital.”

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