Penney Catalog Sales Dip 23.7% for Holidays

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Sales information released yesterday by direct marketers provided a mixed bag.


J.C. Penney Company Inc., Plano, TX, said that catalog sales plummeted 23.7 percent in the five weeks ended Dec. 28 compared with 2001. Catalog sales fell from $465 million a year ago to $355 million. The company said the decrease was in line with expectations.


The bright spot was e-commerce sales, which are included in catalog. Online sales rose about 20 percent in the November and December holiday season.


Comparable department store sales increased 4.7 percent in the five weeks ended Dec. 28 compared with last year's 5.4 percent gain. Comparable-store sales for November and December rose 3 percent. Department store sales in the five-week period totaled $2.77 billion compared with $2.65 billion for the comparable period ended Dec. 29, 2001.


While department store sales rose to $4.19 billion from $4.07 billion in the recently ended nine-week period, catalog performance fell from $760 million to $620 million. And in the recently concluded 48-week period, department store performance reached $14.29 billion compared with $13.97 billion in 2001. Catalog sales fell to $2.46 billion from $3.14 billion in the same period in 2001.


* The Talbots Inc., Hingham, MA, said that total company sales in the five weeks ended Jan. 4 fell 3 percent to $201.9 million from $207.6 million in the five weeks ended Jan. 5, 2002. Comparable-store sales dropped 9.1 percent in the month. Year-to-date sales in the 48 weeks ended Jan. 4 fell 1 percent to $1.48 billion from $1.51 billion in the 48 weeks ended Jan. 5, 2002. Comparable-store sales decreased 6.9 percent in the 48-week period.


"Our catalog business, which includes Internet, generated above-plan sales results for the period," Arnold B. Zetcher, chairman/president/CEO, said in a statement. The company expects to circulate about 50 million catalogs worldwide in fiscal 2002.


* For the nine weeks of November and December, comparable revenue rose 0.3 percent at The Neiman Marcus Group Inc., Dallas. Comparable revenue at Neiman Marcus Direct in the five-week December period increased 2.6 percent.


* Abercrombie & Fitch, New Albany, OH, posted net sales of $296 million in the five weeks ended Jan. 4, up 19 percent from last year's December sales of $249.6 million. Year-to-date, the company reported a net sales increase of 17 percent to $1.52 billion from $1.3 billion a year ago. Comparable-store sales fell 5 percent in the year-to-date period.


* The Spiegel Group, Downers Grove, IL, recorded sales of $371.8 million for the five weeks ended Dec. 28, down 17 percent from $447.8 million in the five weeks ended Dec. 29, 2001. In the 52 weeks ended Dec. 28, total sales fell 18 percent to $2.28 billion from $2.78 billion in that period a year ago.


Comparable-store sales for its Eddie Bauer division fell 6 percent in the five weeks and 12 percent for the 52-week period. The group's sales results by division for December include a decline of 7 percent at Eddie Bauer, 25 percent at Newport News and 41 percent at Spiegel Catalog.


Results for Newport News and Spiegel Catalog reflect a "reduction in catalog pages circulated as well as the continuing impact of the company's more restrictive credit-granting measures" regarding its private-label credit, the company said. For the full year ended Dec. 28, sales fell 11 percent at Eddie Bauer, 25 percent at Newport News and 29 percent at Spiegel Catalog.


Sales for the group's e-commerce channel were flat for the month vs. last year. Total direct sales dropped 27 percent, and the group's retail store sales fell 8 percent for the month compared with a year ago.


* Limited Brands, Columbus, OH, reported flat comparable-store sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 4 compared with the five weeks ended Jan. 5, 2002. Net sales were $1.65 billion, up 4 percent from $1.59 billion a year ago. Net sales no longer include results from Lerner New York, which was sold Nov. 27, 2002.


* Urban Outfitters Inc., Philadelphia, said that November-December comparable-store sales rose 1.5 percent. Direct-to-consumer sales skyrocketed 48 percent in December. Total retail store sales for the two-month period were up 14 percent to $81.7 million from $71.7 million a year ago. Total retail store sales in the 11 months ended Dec. 31 rose 23 percent to $348.9 million from $284.6 million in the same 11 months of the previous year.


* Sears, Roebuck and Co., Hoffman Estates, IL, posted total domestic store revenue for the five weeks ended Jan. 4 of $4.1 billion, down 2.6 percent from the five weeks ended Jan. 5, 2002. Domestic comparable-store revenue fell 4.6 percent.


"Direct-to-customer performed especially well with Lands' End exceeding our expectations and sears.com revenues more than doubling last year's levels," chairman/CEO Alan J. Lacy said in a statement.


* Chico's FAS Inc., Fort Myers, FL, said that sales in the five weeks ended Jan. 4 surged 42.1 percent to $56.5 million from $39.8 million in the period ended Jan. 5, 2002. Comparable-store sales for company-owned stores rose 12.6 percent for the five weeks ended Jan. 4. For the 48 weeks ended Jan. 4, total sales skyrocketed 41.5 percent to $494.2 million from $349.2 million in the 48 weeks ended Jan. 5, 2002.


* Restoration Hardware Inc., Corte Madera, CA, produced net sales in the nine weeks ended Jan. 4 of $127.4 million, up 4.3 percent from $122.2 million in that period a year ago. Direct-to-customer sales, which include catalog and Internet, rose 19.9 percent in the 2002 holiday period vs. last year.


* Federated Department Stores Inc., Cincinnati, reported total sales of $2.77 billion in the five weeks ended Jan. 4, down 0.8 percent from $2.79 billion in that period a year ago. On a same-store basis, December sales fell 2.6 percent.


In the November-December period, Federated posted total sales of $4.24 billion, down 2.6 percent from $4.36 billion for that nine-week period a year ago. On a same-store basis, sales fell 4.4 percent in November-December. Year-to-date sales totaled $14.66 billion in the first 48 weeks of 2002, down 1.5 percent from $14.88 billion. On a same-store basis, year-to-date sales fell 3.1 percent.


* Williams-Sonoma, San Francisco, said that net revenue in the eight weeks ended Dec. 29 increased 14.5 percent to $620 million, including $31.1 million in shipping fees. This compares with $541.7 million on a comparable basis for the eight weeks ended Dec. 30, 2001, which included $25.4 million in shipping fees.


Retail holiday sales for the eight weeks ended Dec. 29 totaled $420.4 million, up 14.5 percent on a comparable basis. Comparable-store sales rose 2.7 percent vs. last year's 6 percent increase. Direct-to-customer sales for the eight weeks ended Dec. 29 totaled $168.4 million, up 13.1 percent on a comparable basis.


* The Bombay Company Inc., Fort Worth, TX, said that same-store sales for stores open more than one year rose 18 percent in the five weeks ended Jan. 4. Total revenue increased 23 percent to $98.8 million compared with $80.5 million in the five weeks ended Jan. 5, 2002. Revenue from non-store activity -- including Bailey Street Trading Company, International, Mail Order and Internet -- amounted to 5 percent of total revenue for the period vs. 3 percent for those five weeks in the previous year.


*J. Crew Group, Inc., New York, announced that revenues for the five weeks ended Jan. 4 totaled $132 million compared to $124.6 million in the five weeks ended Jan. 5, 2002. Comparable store sales for the Retail division fell 6.1 percent in the five weeks ended Jan. 4 compared to the comparable period a year ago. Net sales for the Direct division increased 11.9 percent for the comparable five week period.


For the five weeks ended Jan. 4, Direct posted $47.8 million in sales, including $26.1 million in Internet and $21.7 in catalog. For the five weeks ended Jan. 5, 2002, the results were $21 million in Internet and $21.7 million in catalog for a Direct total of $42.7 million.


For the 48 weeks ended Jan. 4, revenue amounted to $732.6 million compared to $742.1 million for the 48 weeks ended Jan. 5, 2002, a drop of 1.3 percent. Comparable store sales for the Retail division dropped 10 percent for the 48 weeks ended Jan. 4 compared to the comparable period a year ago. Net sales for the Direct division fell 3.9 percent for the comparable 48 week period. For the 48 weeks ended Jan. 4, Direct posted $235.3 million in sales, including $131.5 million in Internet and $103.8 million in catalog. For the 48 weeks ended Jan. 5, 2002, Direct's total was $244.9 million, including $115.5 million in Internet and $129.4 million in catalog.


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