Home a mixed bag in May

Retail Editor 3, June 2, 2011

New York - Comps were modest in May, with home a big contributor at some stores but still lagging at others.

In all, 11 of the 13 major retailers tracked monthly by HTT showed comp increases.

JCPenney experienced 1.0% overall comp decline and said its home business was hurt by the shift of a home mailer from April into May and the elimination of some category promotions, particularly in the furniture and window covering areas.

At Target Corp., home home's comps decreased in the low to mid single digits, with the strongest results stemming from stationary and holiday but the worst sales coming from decorative home. Total comp rose 2.8%.

Sales in the home and furniture category "were significantly below trend" at Little Rock, Ark.-based regional department store Dillard's, even though the retailer eked out a 2.0% overall comp increase.

Although The Bon-Ton Stores, which reported the highest comp decline of -2.3% for May, home one of its best performing categories.

Stein Mart also credited the home department for its 0.7% comp gain.

Home, along with accessories and children's, outperformed Kohl's company average, said Kevin Mansell, chairman, president and ceo. But soft home was not credited. Rather, small electrics led the category with double digit increases.

Macy's reported a 7.4% increase, but did not mention home.

Costco Wholesale Corp., which came in with the second highest comp gainat 6.0%, called out domestics as one of the category leaders as well as small electrics.

Among the two top off-pricers, the winner was Ross Stores with a 4.0% comp gains versus TJX Cos.' 2.0% bump.

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