Same Store Sales Stall
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.
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
|Pier 1 Imports||-10.8%|
|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)|
|Dillard Dept. Stores||$644.3||$653.5||(1.4)||(2.0)|
|Pier 1 Imports||$109.7||$117.3||(6.5)||(10.8)|
|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)|
|Wal-Mart Stores Inc.||$25,034.0||$22,368.0||11.9||3.2|