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Holidays Kind To Some Retailers, Stingy To Others

Don Hogsett, Jeff Linville -- Home Textiles Today, January 10, 2005

New York — The all-important Christmas selling season turned out to be a mixed bag for key U.S. retailers despite the predictable 11th-hour surge as shoppers sought out bargains, and the strongest results came from the extreme ends of the retailing spectrum — luxury goods and off-price.

Proving the point that those who have still have, leading the pack was Saks Fifth Ave. with an impressive 12.1 percent increase in same-store sales. Another carriage-trade retailer Nordstrom, recorded a 9.3 percent increase in comps, blowing past its own expectations of a gain in the low single-digits.

At the other end of the spectrum, the three big warehouse operators all turned in a strong performance, with Costco up 9 percent; BJ's up 5.6 percent; and Sam's up 5.4 percent.

Off-pricers turned in a strong performance, led by rocket-hot Stein Mart at a 10.3 percent gain, followed by TJX with a 6 percent increase.

Among full-price, mainstream retailers, only The Bon-Ton finished strongly, with a 6.6 percent increase. And sales would have risen even higher but for winter storms which closed some Elder-Beerman stores in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky in the days leading up to Christmas.

Among the nation's discounters, Target recorded the biggest increase, with a 5.1 percent gain. Wal-Mart Stores came in with a moderate 2.6 percent gain. But helped by the strong performance at Sam's, all of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. came in at the high end of its forecast range with a 3 percent increase.

Once past The Bon-Ton with its hefty 6.6 percent increase, department stores' performance was mixed. Saks Department Store Group came in with a 2.8 percent gain, and Federated was up 2.3 percent. Dillard's was virtually flat, inching up 0.8 percent.

Notably weak performances among department stores were turned in by May, down 3.5 percent, Sears down 3 percent and JCPenney, slipping 1.2 percent.

Junior department store Kohl's came in with a robust 3.1 percent increase, recovering from weakness early in 2004 and during 2003.

Looking ahead to January, and the promotional close to the Christmas season, a handful of retailers were forecasting continued gains.

Wal-Mart said it expects sales to rise in a range of 2 to 4 percent, but Ross Stores said it's looking at flat January sales after a 4 percent gain during the prior-year period.

Christmas comps

Winners
Saks Fifth Avenue +12.1%
Stein Mart 10.3
Costco 9.0
Bon-Ton 6.6
TJX 6.0
BJ's 5.6
Sam's Club 5.4
Losers
Pier 1 -8.8%
ShopKo Stores -6.3
Pamida -5.3
May Dept. Stores -3.5
Sears -3.0
Value City -2.4
Hancock Fabrics -1.7


December sales for key retailers
Five weeks ended Jan. 1a, (dollar amounts in millions)

2004 sales 2003 sales Total %chg. Same-store %chg.
BJ's Wholesale Club $924.4 $847.8 9.0 5.6
The Bon-Ton Stores 257.8 253.1 1.9 6.6
Costco 5,770.0 5,200.0 11.0 9.0
Dillard Dept. Stores 1,255.9 1,246.2 0.8 0.8
Dollar General 1,007.0 911.0 10.5 1.7
Family Dollar 742.8 658.7 12.8 4.0
Federated 2,834.0 2,781.0 1.9 2.3
Gottschalks 125.2 125.8 (0.5) 0.0
Hancock Fabrics 49.9 50.7 (1.6) (1.7)
JCPenney 3,201.0 3,214.0 (0.4) NA
Dept. stores 2,801.0 2,839.0 (1.3) (1.2)
Catalog/e-commerce 400.0 375.0 6.7 NA
Jo-Ann Stores 261.5 246.3 6.2 4.2
Kohl's Corp. 2,135.3 1,837.3 16.2 3.1
May Dept. Stores 2,844.1 2,517.3 13.0 (3.5)
Pier 1 Imports 289.6 300.2 (3.5) (8.8)
Retail Ventures 364.4 343.6 6.1 (0.7)
Value City Department Stores 219.5 224.8 (2.4) (2.4)
Ross Stores 579.0 513.0 12.9 2.0
Saks Inc. 1,056.3 985.9 7.1 6.0
Saks Fifth Avenue Stores 397.6 348.2 14.2 12.1
Dept. stores 658.7 637.7 3.3 2.8
Sears U.S. sales 3,840.6 3,933.2 (2.4) (3.0)
ShopKo 440.7 466.5 (5.5) (5.3)
ShopKo stores 336.0 NA (6.7) (6.3)
Pamida 104.7 NA (1.7) (5.3)
Stein Mart 224.0 203.2 10.2 10.3
Target Corp. 7,548.0 6,781.0 11.3 5.1
TJX Cos. 2,100.0 1,800.0 15.0 6.0
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. 38,424.0 33,896.0 13.4 3.0
Wal-Mart stores 26,177.0 23,345.0 12.1 2.6
Sam's Club 4,396.0 4,078.0 7.8 5.4


YTD sales for major retailers
43 weeks year to date

a Reporting periods vary from store to store.
b For the 18 weeks year to date.
BJ's Wholesale Club $6,724.2 $6,081.3 10.6 6.3
The Bon-Ton Stores 1,248.1 577.4 43.6 0.6
Costco b 18,170.0 16,490.0 10.0 7.0
Dillard Dept. Stores 7,038.8 7,120.1 (1.1) (1.1)
Dollar General 7,100.0 6,400.0 11.3 3.0
Family Dollar b 2,123.0 1,903.0 11.6 3.0
Federated 14,823.0 14,451.0 2.6 2.7
Gottschalks 626.8 631.4 (0.7) 0.3
Hancock Fabrics 395.9 410.7 (3.6) (3.9)
JCPenney 17,379.0 16,575.0 4.9 NA
JCPenney stores 14,828.0 14,090.0 5.2 5.3
Catalog/e-commerce 2,551.0 2,485.0 2.7 NA
Jo-Ann Stores 1,680.0 1,610.0 4.3 2.9
Kohl's Corp. 11,103.7 9,745.3 13.9 0.4
May Dept. Stores 13,633.1 12,627.1 8.0 (2.4)
Pier 1 Imports 1,661.7 1,613.1 3.0 (4.7)
Retail Ventures 2,601.0 2,471.3 5.2 (1.2)
Value City Department Stores 1,366.8 1,439.7 (5.1) (5.0)
Ross Stores 3,998.0 3,699.0 8.1 (1.0)
Saks Inc. 6,033.2 5,659.4 6.6 5.6
Saks Fifth Avenue Stores 2,545.9 2,251.7 13.1 11.4
Dept. stores 3,487.3 3,407.7 2.3 1.7
Sears U.S. sales 25,012.8 25,711.9 (2.7) (1.7)
ShopKo 2,970.5 NA (0.5) (0.3)
ShopKo stores 2,211.6 NA (1.0) (0.7)
Pamida 758.9 NA 1.0 1.0
Stein Mart 1,379.9 1,290.2 7.0 8.9
Target Corp. 42,556.0 NA 11.5 5.0
TJX Cos. 14,100.0 12,400.0 14.0 5.0
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. 265,013.0 237,865.0 11.4 3.4
Wal-Mart stores 177,889.0 161,687.0 10.0 2.8
Sam's Clubs 34,441.0 31,900.0 8.0 6.3


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