Black Friday boon better for some than others

Retail Editor 4, December 1, 2011

New York - Unseasonably warm weather in parts of the country coupled with sharp competition for consumers' attention over the Thanksgiving weekend tempered some key retailers' November sales.

Opening at midnight on Black Friday - as did Macy's and Target - seemed to be the best course of action. (Though it didn't prove much of a help for Kohl's, where same-store sales tumbled 6.2%.)

"A strong Black Friday punctuated our very positive sales performance throughout November at both Macy's and Bloomingdale's," said Macy's Inc.'s Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and ceo, also noting this was the first year that Macy's stores opened at midnight on Black Friday, "which particularly attracted millennial customers who gravitate to the fashion, newness and value in our merchandise assortments."

And even Target Corp.'s November sales were at the low-end of expectations, with comps up a lackluster 1.8%, chairman, president and ceo Gregg Steinhafel said "sales were strongest on Black Friday as guests responded to our midnight opening and compelling prices."

By category, Target's food and consumables business rang in the highest comp gains, up in the mid teens, while same-stores for home furnishings and décor items declined in the low single digit range.

Opening its doors hours later on Black Friday proved costly for JCPenney, which blamed the timing for it 2.0% comp decline.

While its sales in November leading into the holiday weekend were ahead over last year, JCP said its decision to "respect Thanksgiving Day for families and open at 4:00 a.m. on Black Friday...adversely impacted Black Friday sales." Furthermore, sales remained soft in-store throughout the holiday weekend.

Internet sales at decreased 6.9%, hurt by sales of home products online. Excluding home, sales were up 4.5%.

November's strongest comps were produced by Costco (up 6.0%), Ross Stores (up 5.0%), Macy's (up 4.8%) and TJX (up 4.0%). And of those, only the latter specifically cited home among its best performers.


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