Holiday Retail Sales Were Naughty and Nice

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December provided little joy for those retailers reporting low single-digit sales gains or a drop in results yesterday. But the holiday news was jollier for others announcing double-digit sales increases.


Falling into the first category was Sears, Roebuck and Co., Hoffman Estates, IL. Domestic store revenue decreased 2.4 percent for the five weeks ended Jan. 1, totaling $3.84 billion. Comparable-store sales dipped 3 percent.


"Relatively strong sales at the end of the holiday shopping season were insufficient to offset a slow start to the month," Sears chairman/CEO Alan J. Lacy said in a statement. But online business and gift card sales showed "solid growth."


Federated Department Stores Inc., Cincinnati, said that same-store sales rose 2.3 percent in December. It generated total sales of $2.83 billion for the five weeks ended Jan. 1, up 1.9 percent over last year's volume.


Other companies reporting results yesterday:


· JC Penney Company Inc., Plano, TX, said that sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 1 totaled $3.2 billion, a 0.4 percent decline from last year. Same-store sales for the period dropped 1.2 percent. Catalog/Internet sales in December totaled $400 million, a 6.7 percent gain over the year-ago period.


· Limited Brands, Columbus, OH, posted net sales of $1.82 billion for the five weeks ended Jan. 1, up from $1.77 billion last year. Comparable-store sales rose 2 percent.


· The Talbots Inc., Hingham, MA, produced an 11 percent increase in sales for fiscal December versus last year, totaling $221.5 million. Same-store sales rose 2.8 percent.


· Sharper Image Corp., San Francisco, said sales totaled $164.3 million in December, a 6 percent increase over last year. But comparable-store sales decreased 7 percent in the period. Catalog/direct marketing sales, including wholesale, totaled $23 million in December, down 3 percent from last year. Internet sales for the month rose 5 percent to $24.8 million.


· Abercrombie & Fitch, New Albany, OH, generated net sales of $373.2 million for the five weeks ended Jan. 1, up 24 percent over last year's volume. Comparable-store sales for the month rose 10 percent.


· Casual Male Retail Group Inc., Canton, MA, reported that sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 1 totaled $61.9 million, a 23.3 percent gain over the same period last year. Same-store sales rose 2.2 percent in December.


· Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., Hampstead, MD, said sales totaled $68 million for the fiscal month ended Jan. 1, a 35.2 percent rise over last year. Comparable-store sales increased 16.2 percent for the month. Combined catalog and Internet sales gained 34.4 percent.


· The Neiman Marcus Group Inc., Dallas, posted an 8.2 percent revenue increase for the five weeks ended Jan. 1, totaling $585 million. Comparable-store sales climbed 10.4 percent. Comparable revenues at Neiman Marcus Direct rose 14.1 percent in December.


· Chico's FAS Inc., Fort Myers, FL, said sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 1 totaled $128.5 million, a 41.3 percent jump over last year. Comparable-store sales gained 18.6 percent in the month.


· Nordstrom Inc., Seattle, reported Wednesday that it produced an 11.7 percent increase in sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 1, totaling $1.05 billion. Same-store sales rose 9.3 percent in December.


· Also reporting Wednesday was The Bombay Company Inc., Fort Worth, TX. It generated sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 1 of $107.4 million, a 3 percent dip versus last year. Same-store sales declined 6 percent for the month.


Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters





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