FINANCE

Target and BJ’s miss September estimates

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Target Corp. said its same-store sales rose 1.3% in September, missing Wall Street’s expectations for a 1.9% gain. Total sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 2 rose 3.1% to $5.56 billion.

Coming in a month that was relatively positive for most retailers, the results represent a setback in Target’s quest to turn around sales with a focus on groceries and marketing that emphasizes low prices.

The chain said Thursday that grocery, beauty and healthcare sales were strong, but that its monthly performance was near the low end of expectations.

TJX Cos. reported a 1% increase in September same-store sales, in line with analysts expectations. Total sales for the period rose 6% to $2.1 billion. The company raised its third-quarter guidance.

At BJ’s Wholesale Club, same-store sales were up 1.5% in September, falling short of the 2.1% growth expected by analysts. Sales increased in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and upstate New York regions and fell in the metro New York and New England regions. 

Ross Stores’ sales rose 2%, just short of analysts estimates of a 2.1% gain. Total sales for the month increased by 6% to $666 million. The chain raises its third-quarter guidance, largely on significant improvements in shrinkage.

Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and CEO, commented, “The forecasted upside from our previous earnings per share guidance of $.79 to $.83 is being driven mainly by much better-than-expected shortage results from our annual physical inventory of stores in September along with other favorable gross margin trends. Our lower projected shrink expense for 2010 reflects the significant progress we have made over the past few years in successfully implementing our shortage control initiatives.”

Fred’s said its same-store sales were flat in September, compared with a 3.3% boost a year ago amid heavier demand for flu products. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had anticipated the company would see a 2.3% increase.

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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

BY CSA STAFF

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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