Retailers Report Upbeat Sales for FebruaryMany catalogers and retailers posted better than expected sales yesterday for the month of February, signaling that the economy continues to rebound from the recession.
Among the winners:
Sharper Image, San Francisco, reported a 98 percent leap in catalog sales, to $8.7 million from $4.4 million in February 2001. The company attributed the huge jump to a recent infomercial campaign. Company founder Richard Thalheimer said response to the infomercials contributed more than half of the increase. Retail sales increased 16 percent to $14.6 million, and Internet sales were up 23 percent, to $3.6 million. Total company sales rose 35 percent, to $26.9 million.
Intimate Brands, Columbus, OH, which owns Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, saw store sales increase 1 percent and total sales increase 3 percent to $349.6 million from $338.1 million a year ago. The company does not break out monthly catalog sales.
It was a mixed report for JC Penney Co. Inc., Plano, TX. While the company had a 12.5 percent increase in sales at department stores open at least a year, catalog sales plummeted 28.7 percent, to $196 million from $275 million in February 2001. Total February sales increased 3 percent, to $2.29 billion.
Spiegel Group, Downers Grove, IL, reported a 13 percent sales decline, to $156.6 million from $180 million. Catalog sales dropped 11 percent, though online sales were up 27 percent. Retail store sales fell 16 percent. By division, Eddie Bauer's sales dropped 13 percent; Newport News fell 16 percent; and Spiegel catalog was down 10 percent.
Talbots, Hingham, MA, saw sales fall 10 percent, to $84.1 million from $93.6 million last year. Blaming its performance on clearing out Christmas items, comparable store sales dropped 18 percent. The company does not break out monthly catalog sales.
Sears, the nation's No. 2 retailer, saw domestic same-store sales fall 3.1 percent, while overall sales declined 1.2 percent to $1.9 billion. A sharp drop in clothing sales more than offset gains in electronics and appliance sales, the retailer said.