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Mixed Comp Results Among Key Retailers in August

NEW YORK - Hurricane Irene took part of the blame for some of the comp declines a handful of major retailers reported in August, but was credited by others - particularly the wholesale clubs - for driving up sales late in the month.
     The back-to-school season, which got off to a slightly later start than in the prior year, also impacted results in some categories during the four-week period
     BJ's Wholesale Club lead HTT's list of 13 key retailers with a 7.9% increase in comp club sales. The Northeastern regional chain experienced sales increases throughout the month but saw its strongest gain in the last week from hurricane-related sales. Sales of food grew by about 10; sales of general merchandise increased by 4%.
     BJ's closest competitor, Costco Wholesale Corp. had the second best comps in August, up 6.0%.
     Macy's generated a 5.0% comp gain - despite closing more than 100 of stores temporarily because of the hurricane, including some of the largest-volume locations in the company.
     "We estimate that same-store sales for the month of August, which ended on Saturday, would have been approximately 1.5 percentage points higher if not for the store closings and reduced customer traffic caused by the hurricane," said Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and ceo.
     "Sales on Sunday, the first day of the September reporting period, also were impacted by about 130 hurricane-related store closings," he added. "Our business over the past three days has been strong, and we have rescheduled our Shop For A Cause event to this coming Saturday in disrupted markets. Thus, we expect the hurricane's effect on sales will be substantially offset as we move through September and the third quarter."
     Stein Mart - which posted the largest comp dip in HTT's roster for the month, down 7.5% - said Hurricane Irene for disrupted the retailer's largest promotional event of the month. The company tested a new media mix supporting the event, "which was not as effective in generating customer traffic and sales during the promotion compared to the prior year."

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Same-store sales % change
WINNERS

BJ's Wholesale Club

7.9%

Coscto Wholesale Corp.

6.0%

Macy's Inc.

5.0%

Target Corp.

4.1%

Dillard's Inc.

4.0%

Ross Stores

4.0%

LOSERS

Stein Mart Inc.

(7.5%)

The Bon-Ton Stores

(4.7%)

JCPenney Co.

(1.9%)

Kohl's Corp.

(1.9%)

     Bon-Ton Stores, too, said it took a hurricane hit. But the regional department store did not specify how much of its 4.7% comp decline was the result of the storm.
     "We believe there was a negative impact on our eastern stores from Hurricane Irene, however, it is difficult to quantify the lost sales caused by the disruption to our customers' shopping patterns," said Tony Buccina, vice chairman and president - merchandising.
Johnson Redbook Index     He said the start of the back-to-school season began slowly, with related apparel categories below last year's sales. "We begin September with inventories well positioned in support of merchandise initiatives we believe will drive top line sales in the second half," said Buccina.
     JCPenney and Kohl's also reported comp declines in the month.
     JCP said its sales during the last week of August were negatively impacted by by Hurricane Irene. Comps fell 1.9%.
     Kohl's said its 1.5% samestore sales slip was driven by lower customer traffic. "We are aggressively increasing our marketing as well as sharpening our pricing focus for the remainder of the fall season to reverse this trend," said Kevin Mansell, chairman, president and ceo.

AUGUST SALES FOR KEY RETAILERS
Four weeks ended August 27, 2011 (dollar amounts in millions) a

 

2011 SALES

2010 SALES

TOTAL % CHG.

SAME-STORE % CHG.

BJ's Wholesale Club b

$901.6

$784.8

14.9

7.9

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

$177.1

$187.2

(5.4)

(4.7)

Costco Wholesale Corp. (d) (e)

$6,900.0

$5,900.0

17.0

6.0

Dillard's Inc.

$441.7

$426.8

3.0

4.0

Duckwall-ALCO Stores Inc.

$33.5

$32.5

3.1

2.2

Fred's Inc.

$137.8

$134.3

3.0

3.6

J. C. Penney Company Inc.

$1,374.0

$1,439.0

(4.5)

(1.9)

Kohl's Corp.

$1,414.0

$1,416.0.

(0.1)

(1.9)

Macy's Inc.

$1,716.0

$1,636.0

4.9

5.0

Ross Stores Inc.

$659.0

$608.0

8.0

4.0

Stein Mart Inc.

$73.9

$80.9

(8.7)

(7.5)

Target Corp.

$5,292.0

$5,023.0

5.4

4.1

The TJX Companies Inc.

$1,720.0

$1,650.0

4.0

1.0

30 WEEKS

 

2011 SALES

2010 SALES

TOTAL % CHG.

SAME-STORE % CHG.

BJ's Wholesale Club c

$6,655.5

$5,990.2

11.1

3.7

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

$1,422.5

$1,457.1

(2.4)

(1.8)

Costco Wholesale Corp. (f)

$80,180.0

$70.4

14.0

5.0

Dillard's Inc.

$3,327.1

$3,217.3

3.0

4.0

Duckwall-ALCO Stores Inc.

$269.7

$253.7

6.3

4.9

Fred's Inc.

$1,076.0

$1,055.0

2.0

0.6

J. C. Penney Company Inc.

$9,223.0

$9,306.0

(0.9)

2.0

Kohl's Corp.

$9,824.0

$9,551.0

2.9

1.1

Macy's Inc.

$13,544.0

$12,747.0

6.3

5.8

Ross Stores Inc.

$4,823.0

$4,455.0

8.0

4.0

Stein Mart Inc.

$647.6

$657.9

(1.6)

(0.7)

Target Corp.

$36,766.0

$35,307.0

4.1

3.1

The TJX Companies Inc.

$12,400.0

$11,700.0

6.0

3.0

a. Reporting periods vary from chain to chain.
b. These comp results exclude the positive impact of gasoline. Including a contribution from sales of gasoline, merchandise comps increased in the month by 11.5%.
c. These comp results exclude the positive impact from sales of gasoline. Including a contribution from gas sales, merchandise comps increased year to date by 3.7%.
d. Total sales results in August include sales from the company's Mexico joint venture; without those sales, the increase year to date was 14.0%
e. These comp results are for the U.S. division and do not include Costco's Mexico operations or the positive impacts of inflation in gasoline prices and strengthening foreign currencies. Including those impacts, comps for the month were up 9.0% in the U.S. division, 18.0% in the international division, and 11.0% for the total company.
f. Because it is on a different fiscal calendar than the other key retailers on this list, Costco's year-to-date sales and comp results reflect the past 52-week period, or full year. Comp results for fiscal 2011 here are for the U.S. division and do not include Costco's Mexico oprations or the positive impact of inflation in gasoline and strengthening foreign currencies. Including those impacts, comps were up 7.0% in the U.S., 16.0% in the international division, and 10.0% for the total company.

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