January same-store sales rise 5%

by Harry Sheff

NEW YORK—January same-store sales were up an average of nearly 5 percent, according to Kantar Retail—not bad for a month full of storms, all across the country. Kantar noted that this was better than January 2010’s 3.3 percent gain, and better than the previous month’s 3.2 percent gain.

“Shoppers are slowly becoming less cautious about their spending and that appears to be borne out by January’s same-store sales results, especially when you factor out the negative impact of bad weather,” said Kantar’s Frank Badillo.

Thomson Reuters, which also tracks retail sales figures, said the same-store sales gain was 4.2 percent, but noted that its analysts had been predicting only a 3.3 percent boost for January.

“While sales in January were restrained by the series of snowstorms that caused widespread store closings along the East Coast and in the Southeast U.S., we continued to benefit from the underlying strength in our business,” Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren noted in an earnings release. Macy’s Inc. 2.6 percent same-store sales gain.

The biggest winner for January was Zumiez, whose same-store sales rose 15.3 percent. Total sales rose 21 percent. Other teen retailers didn’t fare so well; three of them— Abercrombie & Fitch, Aéropostale and American Eagle Outfitters—plan on ceasing to report their monthly numbers.

Better Stores
Neiman Marcus: Same-store sales were up 7.5 percent in Neiman Marcus stores and Bergdorf Goodman. Menswear was one of the best performers during the month, along with women’s shoes and handbags. Total sales were up 10 percent to $266 million.

Nordstrom: Same-store sales were up 4.8 percent. Total sales were up 11.8 percent to $607 million.

Saks Inc.: Same-store sales rose 4.4 percent, slightly lower than Wall Street’s predictions of a 5.3 percent gain. Total sales were up 3 percent to $163.6 million.

Department Stores:
Bon-Ton: Same-store sales were up 0.3 percent with total sales flat against last year at $180.1 million. Menswear was listed as one of the strong categories during the month.

Dillard’s Inc.: Same-store sales were up 6 percent, much higher than Wall Street’s 2 percent esitmates. Total sales were up 6 percent to $375.9 million.

Macy’s Inc.: Same-store sales up 2.6 percent. Total sales were up 4.6 percent to $1.310 billion.

Mid-Tier and Mass:
Costco: Same-store sales rose 4 percent in U.S. stores, excluding gasoline. Total sales up 12 percent to $6.3 billion.

Kohl’s: Same-store sales up 1.4 percent; Wall Street had predicted a 2.4 percent gain. Total sales were up 3.4 percent to $825 million.

J.C. Penney: Same-store sales fell 1.2 percent, frustrating analysts, who had predicted a 1.8 percent gain. Total sales fell 3.9 percent to $903 million. “January sales were impacted by lower levels of clearance inventory when compared to the same period last year, as well as by adverse weather conditions,” the company said in a statement.

Stage Stores: Same-store sales up 5.1 percent. Total sales up 7.6 percent to $72 million.

Target: Same-store sales rose 1.7 percent. Total sales rose 2.2 percent to $4.38 billion.

Wal-Mart: Wal-Mart is no longer reporting monthly sales results.

Off Price:
TJX Companies: Same-store sales up 2 percent. Total sales were up 8 percent to $1.35 billion.

Stein Mart: Same-store sales were down 1.2 percent. Total sales down 1.6 percent to $62.8 million.

Ross Stores: Same-store sales were up 3 percent, surprising Wall Street, which predicted a 0.5 percent gain. Total sales were up 7 percent to $441 million.

Specialty and Catalog:

Gap Inc.: Same-store sales were up 1 percent. By division, same-store sales were up 4 percent at Banana Republic, down 3 percent Old Navy and flat at Gap stores. Total sales were up 6 percent to $843 million.

Jos. A. Bank: No longer reporting monthly figures.

Men’s Wearhouse: No longer reporting.

Teen Retailers:
Three teen retailers, Abercrombie & Fitch, Aéropostale and American Eagle Outfitters, will cease to report monthly sales figures after January.

Abercrombie & Fitch: Same-store sales fell 4 percent. By division, same-store sales were up 3 percent at Abercrombie & Fitch stores, down 11 percent for Abercrombie kids stores, and down 8 percent at Hollister stores. Total sales were up 6 percent to $234.1 million.

Aéropostale: Same-store sales increased 1 percent. Total sales were up 7 percent to $120.4 million.

American Eagle Outfitters: Same-store sales were down 6 percent. Total sales down 9.4 percent to $145 million.

The Buckle: Same-store sales were 4.3 percent. Total sales were up 8.4 percent to $54.4 million.

Hot Topic: Same-store sales dropped 3.3 percent. Total sales were down 1 percent to $212 million.

Pacific Sunwear: Stopped reporting monthly sales results.

Zumiez: Same-store sales rose 15.3 percent, surprising analysts, who expected an 8 percent gain. Total sales rose 21 percent to $26.7 million.