Retailers report gains in same-store growth
March 8, 2004,
Helped by brisk sales of spring apparel, most notably at full price, American retailers reported unexpectedly strong same-store sales during February, with the long-battered department store segment making its strongest gains in recent memory.
Leading the pack in February was Saks Inc., where same-store sales raced ahead by 14.7 percent, driven by a strong surge at its Saks Fifth Avenue franchise, where same-store sales flew up by 25.2 percent. Same-store sales in Saks' diversified department store group, where nameplates include Proffitt's Younkers and Carson, Pirie Scott, advanced by 8 percent.
Stripping out results of its lagging Eckerd Drug Store division, now officially on the block, J.C. Penney reported that same-store sales in its core department store business soared up by 12.1 percent. Sales in its catalog and Internet business climbed by 8 percent, helped by strong results in its e-commerce ventures.
While sales of seasonal apparel were uniformly strong, soft home sales were mixed as apparel made an unusually strong showing. Saks Inc. included soft home among the sales leaders at its department store group during February. But Dillard's Inc. said sales in home were slightly below trend.
May Department Stores Co. said the debut of Hotel Suite, its new high-end luxury textiles, china, crystal and furniture collection "was well received by the customer," but added that "the total home furnishings results were lackluster overall."
Federated Department Stores chalked up an unusually strong 9 percent gain in same-store sales, and CEO Terry Lundgren pointed to "favorable weather comparisons between this year and last."
February sales for major retailers
Total chain sales, including all merchandise departments, for period ending 2/28/04a
Sales in $millions
|Company||2004 sales||2003 sales||Total % change||Same-store % change|
|a-Reporting periods vary by store.
b-Includes Elder Beerman results.
c-For JC Penney stores, catalog and internet, excluding Eckerd Drug Stores.
|BJ's Wholesale Club||$488.9||$430.4||13.6||7.9|
|Dillard Dept. Stores||$621.0||$610.3||1.8||2.0|
|May Dept. Stores||$880.4||$846.1||4.1||2.6|
|Pier 1 Imports||$129.9||$116.6||11.4||3.3|
|Value City Dept. stores||$93.9||$88.7||5.9||5.9|
|Sears U.S. sales||$1,741.9||$1,750.0||-0.5||1.1|
|Wal-Mart Stores Inc.||$20,162.0||$17,689.0||14.0||6.2|
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