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Sales Rise in July for Many Retailers

Direct marketers turned in mostly positive results this week as they reported results for July.

However, Sears, Roebuck and Co. continued its slump. The Hoffman Estates, IL, company yesterday recorded a 4 percent decrease in domestic store revenue for the four weeks ended July 31 compared with the same period last year with a total of $1.84 billion. Also, same-store performance declined 2.6 percent for the month. In the year-to-date period, sales dipped 3 percent to $12.5 billion.

Bankrupt Spiegel Inc., Downers Grove, IL, no longer is required to make quarterly or annual filings since its stock registration was revoked by the Securities and Exchange Commission last month.

On the other end of the spectrum was J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Plano, TX, which reported Aug. 2 that sales for the four weeks ended July 31 were above expectations. Comparable department store sales increased 8.1 percent. But catalog/Internet sales decreased 1.1 percent, with Internet sales rising more than 30 percent.

Other companies reporting results yesterday included:

· Nordstrom Inc., Seattle, experienced an 8.9 percent sales increase in July, totaling $746.9 million. Comparable-store sales volume was up 6.1 percent.

· Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., Hampstead, MD, said total sales climbed 34.3 percent for the month to $23.5 million. Comparable-store sales were up 14.5 percent. Combined catalog and Internet sales increased 26.7 percent. Also, second-quarter sales for the period ended July 31 rose 27.3 percent to $82 million while same-store sales increased 10.2 percent. Combined catalog and Internet sales rose 17.9 percent in the quarter.

· The Neiman Marcus Group Inc., Dallas, reported that total revenue improved 16.6 percent to $218 million in July. At Neiman Marcus Direct, revenue jumped 38.4 percent. For the fiscal fourth quarter of 2004, total revenue rose 12.4 percent to $789 million.

· Federated Department Stores Inc., Cincinnati, reported total sales of $998 million in July, up 3.6 percent from last year. On a same-store basis, sales were up 3.7 percent. For the second quarter, total sales increased 3.4 percent to $3.5 billion and 3.3 percent on a same-store basis.

· Sharper Image Corp., San Francisco, generated a sales increase of 18 percent in July. Catalog/direct marketing sales, including wholesale, posted a 27 percent jump. In the same period, Internet sales increased 14 percent. Also, total sales were up 20 percent in the second quarter while same-store sales climbed 17 percent. In the quarter, catalog/direct marketing sales rose 28 percent while Internet sales increased 14 percent.

· Limited Brands, Columbus, OH, reported flat comparable-store sales in July with net sales of $575.3 million versus sales of $563.2 million last year. The company reported a comparable-store sales increase of 9 percent for the second quarter. Net sales in the quarter totaled $2.2 billion, up 10 percent over last year.

· Chico's FAS Inc., Fort Myers, FL, saw a 49 percent jump in sales in July, reaching $71.1 million. Same-store sales increased 13.7 percent. For the second quarter, sales were up 46.9 percent to $255 million and same-store sales rose 14.1 percent.

· Abercrombie & Fitch, New Albany, OH, produced net sales of $143.7 million in the month, an 8 percent increase over last year. However, July's comparable-store sales dipped 9 percent. Year-to-date, the company reported a 16 percent rise in net sales to $813.3 million, but a 3 percent dip in same-store sales.

· The Talbots Inc., Hingham, MA, reported total sales of $97.2 million in July, a 3 percent drop from the year-ago period. Comparable-store sales fell 8.8 percent. Sales for the second fiscal quarter rose 5 percent to $409.4 million. Comparable-store sales increased 0.3 percent as catalog sales climbed 9 percent to $54.5 million.

Companies reporting results Wednesday included:

· The Bombay Company Inc., Fort Worth, TX, said total revenue dropped 13 percent to $34.5 million in July while same-store sales fell 25 percent. For the second quarter, revenue reached $122.4 million, down 6 percent from last year. Same-store sales declined 18 percent.

· Casual Male Retail Group Inc., Canton, MA, reported that total sales for July improved 1 percent to $21 million as same-store sales increased 0.8 percent. For the second quarter, sales rose 3.3 percent to $81.5 million and same-store sales increased 4.8 percent.

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