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Same Store Sales Stall

Ten of 22 Chains Down

Don Hogsett -- Home Textiles Today, March 6, 2006

New York —Holding on tight to their wallets after a January shopping binge when they cashed in their gift cards, consumers largely shunned the malls during February, handing retailers a post-holiday jolt and sending same-store sales for many into a tailspin.

Of the 22 retailers whose same-store sales are tracked each month by Home Textiles Today, almost half, 10 of the 22, recorded declines during the month. A powerful winter storm that swept through Northeastern states was blamed for some of the shortfall. Contrarily, the unseasonably warm weather in other parts of the country stunted sales of cold-weather apparel.

Home fashions was a standout for a handful of players, and Dillard's, JCPenney and Stein Mart all reported strong sales of home goods.

Even the high-roller carriage trade took a big hit during the month, and at Saks Fifth Ave. same-store sales dropped of by 6.7%.

The slowing retail sales moved in lock step with a sudden and unexpected decline in consumer confidence as Americans fretted about higher heating bills, higher gas prices, rising interest rates, a stalled out housing market and a weakening jobs outlook.

The stalled out retail sales caught Wall Street by surprise, and coming only two days after news of weakening consumer sentiment, the latest drop in home sales and rising jobless claims, investors headed for the exit, pushing stock prices sharply down. In early afternoon trading on Thursday, March 3, when retailers reported their February sales, the Dow was down in excess of 50, but regained some of the lost ground later in the day.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

WINNERS
Costco 8.0%
Ross Stores 6.0
Sam's Club 4/6
Family Dollar 4.4
Target 3.6
LOSERS
Pier 1 Imports -10.8%
Stein Mart -8.5
Hancock Fabrics -7.3
Saks Fifth Ave. -6.7
Saks Dept. Stores -6.1


February same-store sales for key retailers
Four weeks ended February 25a, (dollar amounts in millions)

2006 sales 2005 sales Total % chg. Same-store % chg.
a. Reporting periods vary from store to store.
b. includes results of May Department Stores.
c. reflects the sale of some department stores.
BJ's Wholesale Club $567.8 $536.1 5.9 1.6
The Bon-Ton Stores $72.2 $74.8 (3.5) (1.6)
Costco $4,210.0 $3,780.0 11.4 8.0
Dillard Dept. Stores $644.3 $653.5 (1.4) (2.0)
Dollar General $645.7 $607.9 6.2 (0.5)
Family Dollar $507.4 $458.1 10.8 4.4
Federated b $1,801.0 $1,097.0 64.1 1.0
Gottschalks $44.3 $42.8 3.5 2.7
Hancock Fabrics $29.6 $31.4 (5.7) (7.3)
JCPenney $1,302.0 $1,255.0 3.7 NA
Dept. stores $1,093.0 $1,055.0 3.6 2.3
Catalog/e-commerce $209.0 $200.0 4.5 NA
Jo-Ann Stores $130.6 $128.5 1.6 (3.7)
Kohl's Corp. $818.6 $712.7 14.9 3.4
Pier 1 Imports $109.7 $117.3 (6.5) (10.8)
Ross Stores $356.0 $311.0 14.5 6.0
Saks Inc. c $361.9 $437.2 (17.2) (6.4)
Saks Fifth Avenue Stores $171.0 $188.2 (9.2) (6.7)
Dept. Stores c $190.9 $249.0 (23.3) (6.1)
Stein Mart $97.2 $105.3 (7.7) (8.5)
Target Corp. $3,731.0 $3,376.0 10.5 3.6
TJX Cos. $1,100.0 $1,000.0 6.0 1.0
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. $25,034.0 $22,368.0 11.9 3.2
Wal-Mart Stores $16,652.0 $15,134.0 10.0 2.9
Sam's Club $3,038.0 $2,823.0 7.6 4.6


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