Sharper Image Sees Strong Month; Spiegel Sales Struggle

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Sharper Image Corp., San Francisco, reported that total company sales rose 34 percent to $36 million for the fiscal month ending Feb. 28.

Total store sales were up 40 percent to $20.5 million from $14.6 million, and comparable-store sales increased 24 percent. Catalog sales climbed 21 percent to $10.5 million, and Internet sales ballooned 40 percent to $5 million.

"Our three retail sales channels -- stores, Internet and catalog -- enjoyed double-digit percentage increases over last February," Richard Thalheimer, founder/chairman/CEO, said in a statement.

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., Hampstead, MD, reported a 7 percent rise in total sales for the fiscal month ended Feb. 28 to $15.4 million. Comparable-store sales fell 1.9 percent from prior-year levels, but the company said that excluding the effect of severe weather during the Presidents Day weekend, comparable-store sales increased 3 percent. Combined catalog and Internet sales climbed 15.9 percent in February.

Other companies did not enjoy similar gains.

Sales at The Spiegel Group were $120.1 million for the four weeks ending Feb. 22, down 23 percent from the year-ago period.

Direct sales fell 30 percent compared with last year, which Spiegel attributed mainly to a planned reduction in catalog circulation and weak customer demand. Retail sales dropped 13 percent due to negative comparable-store performance and a drop in the number of stores.

Comparable-store sales at its Eddie Bauer division slid 12 percent for the four-week period. The company said the decline was driven partly by unseasonably cold weather that reduced demand for spring apparel, and poor weather during the Presidents Day weekend, especially in the Northeast.

JC Penney, Plano, TX, reported catalog sales of $174 million for the four weeks ending Feb. 22, down from $196 million in last year's comparable period. Internet sales, which are included in catalog, increased 40 percent. Total company sales were $2.26 billion, down from $2.29 billion last year.

Comparable department store sales fell 2.1 percent in the period, compared with a gain of 12.5 percent last year. The company said sales for department stores and drugstores were on plan until the final week of the period when winter storms hurt Presidents Day sales and led to numerous store closings.

Sears, Roebuck and Co., Hoffman Estates, IL, said that comparable domestic store revenue dropped 9.4 percent in the four weeks ended March 1. Total domestic store revenue totaled $1.7 billion, a 7.9 percent decrease.

J. Crew Group Inc., New York, reported revenue for the four weeks ended March 1 totaling $45.6 million, down from $53.4 million in the comparable period last year. Comparable store sales for the retail division plummeted 25.7 percent in the four weeks and net sales for the direct division fell 12.6 percent. During the four weeks ended March 1, Internet revenues totaled $13 million, and catalog revenues were $7.8 million. For the comparable period last year Internet revenues were $13.1 million and catalog revenues were $10.7 million.


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