JC Penney Catalog Sales Continue to Slump, Guitar Center Sales Up

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Catalog sales at JC Penney are expected to be down 25 percent for January, the retailer said yesterday.


Department store sales for the first week of January were on plan, with store sales for the month expected to be flat or up slightly. The best categories for the week were fine jewelry, children's and home.


The company also said it expects a mid-single digit comp store sales increase for the month at its Eckerd drugstores.


In other news, Guitar Center Inc. reported record sales yesterday for its 2002 fourth quarter and full year.


The company is a retailer of guitars, amplifiers, percussion instruments, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment. It operates 108 Guitar Center stores and its American Music division operates 20 stores specializing in band instruments for sale and rental. It also is a direct response retailer of musical instruments through its wholly owned subsidiary, Musician's Friend Inc., and its catalog and Web site.


Consolidated net sales for the fourth quarter were $335 million, up from $290 in the 2001 Q4. Direct response sales were $66 million, up 24.3 percent from $53 million. Net sales from retail stores totaled $269 million for the quarter, a 13.5 percent increase from $237 million reported in the same period a year ago.


Net sales for 2002 were $1.1 billion, up from $949 million in the prior year. Direct response sales were $209 million last year, up 23.8 percent from 2001. Net sales from retail stores in 2002 totaled $892 million, a 14.3 percent increase from $781 million in 2001.


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