April Tells Tale of Two Retail Segments
May 9, 2005,
New York Soaring gas prices took their toll on those least able to afford them during April, and the pain was felt at the places where they shop, the nation's big discounters, where same-store sales dried up.
But the rich will always be with us, unruffled by higher gas prices, and sales at luxury retailers continued to soar in April — Neiman Marcus shooting up 14.2 percent; Saks Fifth Ave. up 7.1 percent; and Nordstrom gaining 6.9 percent.
Mid-tier retailers turned in a mixed but mostly predictable performance, with the historically strong getting stronger and the habitually weak, still weak. Kohl's sales, climbing back on track, shot up 8 percent; Penney rose 3.6 percent; and Federated was up 2.8 percent. May, on the other hand, edged up 1.5 percent, and Dillard's sank 6 percent.
Warehouse clubs, which attract their share of upscale shoppers filling the trunks of their BMWs with off-price goods, turned in a sharply stronger performance than their sibling discounters. A case in point was Sam's, whose 4.9 percent gain outdid Wal-Mart's weak 0.1 percent. BJ's drove its sales up 8.4 percent, and Costco climbed 8 percent.
Haves and have nots
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