J.C. Penney Sees Higher Q2 Sales, Internet up 60 Percent

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Perhaps J.C. Penney was right when it said last year that positive numbers weren't expected until "probably mid-2003."


The Plano, TX-based retail and direct marketing giant reported yesterday in its preliminary sales summary that second-quarter sales in its catalog/Internet segment rose 3.9 percent to $561 million versus the same period a year ago. It also posted a 10.6 percent rise in the recently concluded four-week period, from last year's $160 million to $177 million, described by the company as well above plan.


The company said that strong growth continues for Internet sales, rising more than 60 percent for both the month and quarter.


The numbers are part of total company sales increasing year-over-year from $7.2 billion to $7.31 billion in the quarter and from $2.14 billion to $2.21 billion in the four-week comparison.


In other news:


· Hanover Direct Inc., Edgewater, NJ, said that Internet sales continue to show strong growth, comprising 27 percent of total revenue for the 26 weeks ended June 28. Online net revenue for the 13 weeks and 26 weeks ended June 28 totaled $27.5 million and $53.1 million, respectively, or 31.9 percent and 32.2 percent above the comparable 2002 fiscal periods.


But total net revenues for the 13 weeks and 26 weeks ended June 28 were $105.8 million and $208.2 million, respectively, down 7.1 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.


For the 26 weeks ended June 28, the company posted a net loss of $7 million compared with a net loss of $6.4 million for the 26 weeks ended June 29, 2002. The company also reported net income of $700,000 for the 13 weeks ended June 28 versus $1.8 million for the 13 weeks ended June 29, 2002.


Its catalog and Internet portfolio of home fashions, apparel and gift brands includes Domestications, The Company Store, Company Kids, Silhouettes, International Male, Scandia Down and Gump's by Mail. Each brand can be accessed on the Internet individually by name.


· Neiman Marcus Group Inc., Dallas, recorded $703 million in revenue for the 13 weeks ended Aug. 2, up from $630 million for the comparable period ended July 27, 2002. For the recently concluded fiscal year, total revenue was $3.1 billion, up from $2.91 billion in the 53-week 2002 fiscal year.


· Total sales at Chico's FAS Inc. for the second quarter ended Aug. 2 were $173.4 million, up from $125.1 million for year-ago period. Chico's, Fort Myers, FL, signed a deal in late July to buy The White House Inc., Glen Burnie, MD, a privately held specialty retailer offering private-label women's apparel.


· United Retail Group Inc., Rochelle Park, NJ, said that sales for the second fiscal quarter were $104.8 million, down from $113.7 million in that period last year. The women's apparel retailer's brands include Avenue and Cloudwalkers.com. It sells through retail stores, catalogs and online. Comparable-store sales fell 7 percent in the quarter. Year to date, total sales reached $206.3 million versus $229.2 million last year. Comparable-store sales dropped 9 percent for the year to date.


· Federated Department Stores Inc., Cincinnati, said that second-quarter sales were $3.44 billion, down 1.5 percent from $3.49 billion last year. On a same-store basis, second-quarter sales fell 1.2 percent. Year to date, sales totaled $6.73 billion, down 3.1 percent from total sales of $6.94 billion in the first 26 weeks of 2002.


· Nordstrom Inc., Seattle, reported preliminary second-quarter sales of $1.8 billion, up 7.9 percent from 2002 second-quarter sales of $1.7 billion. Also, second-quarter same-store sales rose 3.9 percent. Preliminary year-to-date sales were $3.1 billion, up 6 percent from last year. Year-to-date same-store sales increased 1.6 percent.


· Sales at Sharper Image Corp., San Francisco, for the three months ended July 31 climbed 25 percent to $124.7 million from $99.6 million last year. Total store sales rose 27 percent to $74.2 million from $58.4 million in last year's second quarter as comparable-store sales increased 15 percent. Catalog sales rose 11 percent to $32.2 million from last year's second-quarter total of $29 million. Internet sales skyrocketed 50 percent to $18.3 million from $12.2 million. In the six months ended July 31, total company sales increased 27 percent to $241.7 million from last year's $191.1 million. Total store sales rose 29 percent to $140 million from $108.4 million in the previous year as comparable-store sales climbed 16 percent. Catalog sales were up 14 percent to $66.5 million. Internet sales ballooned 46 percent to $35.2 million.


· Restoration Hardware Inc., Corte Madera, CA, posted net sales in the second quarter ended Aug. 2 of $96 million, up from $85 million last year. Comparable-store sales for the quarter rose 9.9 percent as net sales for the direct-to-customer division, which includes catalog and Internet sales, skyrocketed 46 percent.


· The Talbots Inc., Hingham, MA, said that sales for the second fiscal quarter ended Aug. 2 rose 5 percent to $389.6 million from $370.4 million in the 13 weeks ended Aug. 3, 2002. Retail sales were up 5 percent to $339.4 million from $323 million. Comparable-store sales for the quarter fell 1.7 percent versus the prior year. Catalog sales climbed 6 percent to $50.2 million from $47.4 million. Sales for the 26 weeks ended Aug. 2 were up 3 percent to $784.6 million from $761.7 million last year. Retail sales were up 4 percent to $668.6 million from $644.7 million. Comparable-store sales fell 3.0 percent in the 26-week period. Catalog sales dropped 1 percent to $116 million from $117 million.


· Urban Outfitters Inc., Philadelphia, said total company sales for the second quarter ended July 31 were a record $122.9 million, up 22 percent over that period last year. Helping drive the increase was a 37 percent rise in direct-to-consumer sales. Total company sales for the six months ended July 31 increased to a record $229.9 million, up 18 percent from last year's comparable period.


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