Holiday Sales Off to a Good Start for Most Retailers

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Multichannel merchants reporting November sales results yesterday were mostly thankful for the low- to mid-single digit gains generated by holiday shoppers.


Getting an early start to spreading good cheer was Abercrombie & Fitch Co., New Albany, OH, which saw net sales increase 34 percent for the four weeks ended Nov. 26 for a total of $251.2 million. Comparable-store sales rose 23 percent during the same period.


The couple of exceptions, however, attributed their negative results to a later and more promotional holiday shopping season.


"In part, November performance reflects the shift of some promotional events to December," Federated Department Stores' chairman/president/CEO Terry J. Lundgren said in a statement. "We know from the past few years that customers are waiting until later to shop for the type of merchandise we offer."


Cincinnati-based Federated reported a 3.4 percent decrease in same-store sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 26. Companywide, sales increased 89.3 percent to $2.74 billion and included the Aug. 30 acquisition of the May Company.


Other companies reporting results:


* The Sharper Image, San Francisco, posted a 24 percent drop in sales for the calendar month ended Nov. 30 for a total of $60 million. Comparable-store sales decreased 18 percent. Also, catalog/direct-marketing sales totaled $10.8 million, a 50 percent drop. Internet sales alone decreased 26 percent to $10.4 million.


* J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Plano, TX, generated a 4 percent increase in sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 26 for a total of $1.86 billion. Comparable-store sales increased 3.6 percent during the same period. Also, the company's direct sales increased 2.5 percent to $291 million. Internet sales increased 23 percent in November.


* Limited Brands, Columbus, OH, saw a 7 percent gain in net sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 26 for a total of $817.7 million. Same-store sales rose 5 percent during the month.


* Nordstrom Inc., Seattle, reported preliminary sales totaled $706.5 million for the four weeks ended Nov. 26, a 5.8 percent gain. Same-store sales rose 2.8 percent during the same period.


* The Talbots Inc. said sales for fiscal November, the four weeks ended Nov. 26, totaled $131.3 million, a 3 percent increase. Also, comparable-store sales rose 3.3 percent.


* The Neiman Marcus Group Inc., Dallas, posted a 6.6 percent increase in revenues for the four weeks ended Nov. 26 for a total of $328 million. Comparable revenues in the company's Specialty Retail Stores segment, which includes Neiman Marcus stores and Bergdorf Goodman, rose 2.8 percent. Also, comparable revenues at Neiman Marcus Direct increased 8.2 percent.


* JoS. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., Hampstead, MD, generated a 16.1 percent increase sales for its fiscal month ended Nov. 26 for a total of $41.9 million. Comparable-store sales increased 3.8 percent during the same period. Also, combined catalog and Internet sales increased 24.3 percent.


Reporting results Wednesday was The Bombay Company, Fort Worth, TX, which said revenue decreased 13.4 percent for the four weeks ended Nov. 26 for a total of $50.1 million. Same-store sales declined 12.4 percent during the same period. Also, revenue from non-store activities, including Internet, mail order, international and Bailey Street, was 5.3 percent of total revenue compared to 7.2 percent in the prior year.


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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