Retailers: June Sales Fail to Heat Up

Citing unusually cold weather in the Northeast, some retailers including Sears and Federated Department Stores reported lower-than-expected June sales results yesterday.

As for Sears, it continued to report worsening numbers, as did Spiegel.

The Spiegel Group, Downers Grove, IL, posted net sales of $124.1 million for the five weeks ended July 3, falling 23 percent from $160.2 million last year.

June's net sales include the Newport News business through June 21. It was acquired by Newport News Holdings Corp. last month. Excluding this division, net sales decreased 18 percent for the month. Year to date, total sales dropped 21 percent to $660.1 million.

Comparable-store sales for the company's Eddie Bauer division fell 11 percent for the five weeks and 6 percent year-to-date.

The company attributed a 31 percent decrease in net sales generated by its direct business, including catalog and e-commerce, mainly to the Newport News sale, lower customer response and a planned cut in circulation. Excluding Newport News, direct net sales lost 23 percent.

Sears, Roebuck and Co., Hoffman Estates, IL, saw comparable domestic store revenue drop 3.1 percent in June. Total domestic store revenue totaled $2.55 billion, a 4.4 percent dip from last year. Year to date, net sales fell 2.8 percent to $10.7 billion as same-store revenue lost 1.6 percent.

Other companies reporting yesterday:

· J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Plano, TX, produced a comparable-store sales increase of 4.8 percent in June. Catalog and Internet sales, however, declined 3.4 percent to $198 million. But Internet sales alone rose more than 25 percent. The company said catalog and Internet sales were soft mainly resulting from “out-of-stocks in selected merchandise categories due to strong sales earlier in the season.” Year to date, sales in the catalog and Internet sector climbed 3.2 percent to $1 billion.

· Abercrombie & Fitch, New Albany, OH, produced net sales of $146.1 million in June, up 13 percent. But comparable-store sales for the month were down 5 percent. Year to date, net sales rose 18 percent to $669.5 million as comparable-store sales dipped 1 percent.

· Chico's FAS Inc., Fort Myers, FL, experienced a 42 percent jump in sales in the month to $93.6 million, as comparable-store revenue increased 10.9 percent. Year-to-date total sales improved 49.5 percent to $440 million as same-store sales rose 17.6 percent.

· Limited Brands, Columbus, OH, generated net sales of $994.1 million in June while same-store sales climbed 19 percent. Year to date, total sales were $3.6 billion, up 10 percent.

· Sharper Image Corp., San Francisco, saw sales increase 23 percent to $50.8 million as comparable-store sales rose 2 percent. Total catalog/direct marketing sales jumped 42 percent to $13.3 million as Internet sales increased 17 percent to $7 million. For the five months ended June 30, total catalog/direct marketing sales reached $72.2 million while Internet sales totaled $40.5 million.

· Federated Department Stores Inc., Cincinnati, generated total sales of $1.4 billion in June, an increase of 3.4 percent. On a same-store basis, volume was also up 3.4 percent. For the year so far, sales totaled $6 billion, a 5.3 percent increase.

· The Talbots Inc., Hingham, MA, experienced a 7 percent increase in total sales in June to $184.6 million as comparable-store sales inched up 0.9 percent. Year-to-date sales increased 7 percent to $731.2 million.

· The Neiman Marcus Group Inc., Dallas, saw total revenue rise 13 percent in June to $326 million. In the direct marketing segment, comparable revenue increased 9.2 percent.

· Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., Hampstead, MD, produced total sales in June of $32.3 million, a 26.7 percent increase. Same-store sales rose 10.6 percent while combined catalog and Internet sales improved 4.6 percent. Year-to-date total sales are $138.4 million, with catalog and Internet sales improving 16.8 percent.

· Casual Male Retail Group Inc., Canton, MA, reported a sales increase of 1.4 percent in June, producing a total of $33.9 million as same-store sales increased 2.1 percent.

· Nordstrom Inc., Seattle, produced sales of $707.4 million in June, an 8.5 percent increase. Same-store sales rose 5.7 percent. Year-to-date sales reached $2.7 billion, a 13.5 percent increase.

· United Retail Group Inc., Rochelle Park, NJ, reported total sales of $37.9 million for the month, down from $40.6 million last year, while comparable-store sales fell 5 percent.

· The Bombay Company Inc., Fort Worth, TX, said Wednesday that revenue totaled $50.4 million in June, a 2 percent drop, as same-store sales declined 14 percent. Year to date, total revenue increased 1 percent to $211.5 million.

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