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October was not tricky for retailers

Cold weather across the country in October warmed retailers' hearts, gave shoppers the urge to splurge, and resulted in a 2.4 percent gain in overall chain sales last month.

And as a result of October's performance, some retailers upped their forecasts for the remainder of the year, after slashing them a month ago.

Though most retailers were satisfied with the month, they cautioned about November, since Thanksgiving will fall later this year.

Kohl's led the group with comp-store sales gains of 18.3 percent. "After a disappointing sales performance in September," said Larry Montgomery, ceo, Kohl's, "we reduced our third quarter earnings guidance last month … We are pleased to say that with October's strong sales performance; we are now confident that the original $0.37 is achievable."

Montgomery added, "For the month, all seasonal apparel businesses were significantly above last year with all major merchandise classifications delivering double-digit comparable-store sales increases."

JCPenney's department stores also had an outstanding month, posting a same-store sales increase of 13.7 percent. The company said that planned marketing events and more seasonal weather contributed to the month's performance. And, though sales were strong across all merchandise categories, home was cited as one of the leaders.

Wal-Mart also saw comp-store increases for the total company and the Wal-Mart division of 3.7 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, while Sam's Club same-stores fell 1.6 percent for the month.

With a comp-store sales increase of 0.3 percent, Federated Department Stores said that the arrival of cold weather in many parts of the country helped spur sales, exceeding its revised expectations of a 1 percent to 2 percent decline.

Sears, however, saw comp-store sales slide 10 percent domestically. "The weakening economy significantly impacted sales in the big-ticket, full-line and dealer store categories," said chairman and ceo Alan Lacy. Home fashions was one of the weaker areas in its full-line stores for the month, with comps declining in the high teens. The company added that The Great Indoors format, however, showed a high-single-digit increase for October, and, in fact, The Great Indoors and Sears' footwear departments were the only segments to produce positive comps for the month.

At TJX, president and ceo Edmond English was very pleased with the company's October performance. "As we expected, when the weather turned seasonably cold, we saw a good pick-up in apparel sales. Our inventories remain in excellent shape. This will enable us to continue to flow exciting selections of gift items in apparel and home fashions to our stores throughout the holiday selling season."

TJX's MarMaxx division, which includes T.J. Maxx and Marshall's, saw its home fashions categories jump 16.0 percent for the month, while the overall division saw its comps spring up 6.0 percent. With a comp increase of 9.0 percent, the HomeGoods division outperformed MarMaxx on a comp-store basis. In its other divisions, TJX saw comp-store gains of 1.0 percent in its Canadian Winners format, 16.0 percent in the T.K. Maxx group, and 15.0 percent at A.J. Wright.

The home category performed well at quite a few retailers for October. The Saks Department Store Group, for example, said decorative and soft home were among the leading merchandise categories for sales for the month.

Ross Stores said the home businesses remained standout performers for the month, with same-store sales gains in the low double digits.

Stein Mart also found domestics favorable for the month, with linens and men's categories showing the best comp-store sales performances.

Elder-Beerman, which had a comp-store sales slippage of 0.7 percent, listed all of its home store categories as among the best performing businesses in October.

However, Target Corp. said that within its Mervyn's division, which delivered one of the lowest comp-store sales for the month in the group, the home area was one of the weakest categories.

At Dillard's the the home area performed below the company average, with a 4.0 percent decline.

TOP 3
Company % chg.
Kohl's 18.3
JCPenney dept stores 13.7
Ross Stores 7.0
TJX Cos. 7.0
BOTTOM 3
Company % chg.
Sears -10.0
May Dept Stores -7.1
Mervyn's -5.7


October sales for major retailers (period ending 11/2/02)a
sales in $millions

Company 2002 sales 2001 sales Total % change Same-store % change
a: Reporting periods vary from store to store.
b: Will not report numbers until emerges from Chapter 11.
c: For the period ending Nov. 3.
d: For the period ending Nov. 1.
e: For the period ending Nov. 4.
f: For the period ending Oct. 26.
g: Excludes sales of stores that have been closed and not replaced.
Ames b NA NA NA NA
Costco c $3,010.0 $2,830.0 6.4% 2.0%
Dillard Dept. Stores 509.3 524.4 (2.9) (2.0)
Dollar General d 475.4 418.4 13.6 4.5
Elder-Beerman c 46.7 47.0 (0.6) (0.7)
Family Dollar 340.0 291.2 16.8 6.1
Federated Department Stores 1,083.0 1,057.0 2.5 0.3
Gottschalks 48.9 47.7 2.5 4.2
Hancock Fabrics e 38.9 37.5 3.7 4.5
JCPenney f 2,532.0 2,412.0 5.0 NA
Dept. stores 1,192.0 1,052.0 13.3 13.7
Catalog/e-commerce 237.0 303.0 (21.8) NA
Jo-Ann Stores 159.1 153.3 3.8 6.6
Kmart b NA NA NA NA
Kohl's Corp. 799.7 577.9 38.4 18.3
May Dept. Stores 925.5 961.7 (3.8) (7.1)
Pier 1 Imports 130.7 114.1 14.5 6.3
Ross Stores 278.0 238.0 16.8 7.0
Saks Inc. 441.8 448.8 (1.6) (0.7)
Dept. stores 274.7 277.7 (1.1) (2.0)
Sears U.S. sales 1,993.1 2,153.8 (7.5) (10.0)
ShopKo g 244.4 250.9 (2.6) (2.3)
Shopko stores 184.1 NA (2.9) (2.9)
Pamida 60.3 NA (1.6) (0.2)
Stein Mart 106.3 100.8 5.5 1.5
Target Corp. 3,145.0 2,866.0 9.7 1.5
Target 2,605.0 NA 11.6 2.1
Mervyn's 266.0 NA (5.8) (5.7)
Marshall Field's 231.0 NA 5.0 5.0
TJX Cos. 1,034.0 885.0 16.8 7.0
Value City 202.9 182.7 11.1 0.5
Value City Dept. stores 117.3 110.9 5.8 (2.2)
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. 18,497.0 16,616.0 11.3 3.7
Wal-Mart stores 11,770.0 10,443.0 12.7 4.8
Sam's Club 2,404.0 2,300.0 4.5 (1.6)
39 weeks to date
Ames b NA NA NA NA
Costco c NA NA NA NA
Dillard Dept. Stores $5,523.1 $5,620.9 (1.7%) (2.0%)
Dollar General d 4,300.0 3,700.0 16.2 7.2
Elder-Beerman c 425.7 423.5 0.5 (2.2)
Family Dollar NA NA NA NA
Federated 10,420.0 10,519.0 (0.9) (2.6)
Gottschalks 458.3 469.6 (2.4) (0.2)
Hancock Fabrics e 309.7 288.2 7.5 6.9
JCPenney f 22,798.0 22,462.0 1.5 NA
JCPenney stores 10,099.0 9,900.0 2.0 3.0
Catalog/e-commerce 1,840.0 2,377.0 (22.6) NA
Jo-Ann Stores 1,156.2 1,072.1 7.8 9.0
Kmart b NA NA NA NA
Kohl's Corp. 5,935.8 4,764.4 24.6 8.1
May Dept. Stores 9,303.4 9,448.6 (1.5) (4.8)
Pier 1 Imports 1,078.9 927.3 16.3 7.3
Ross Stores 2,567.0 2,138.0 20.1 9.0
Saks Inc. 4,042.3 4,123.1 (2.0) (0.3)
Dept. stores 2,402.6 2,421.9 (0.8) (0.6)
Sears U.S. sales 20,117.6 20,750.8 (3.1) (5.6)
ShopKo g 2,281.7 NA (1.4) (1.1)
Shopko stores 1,719.8 NA 0.4 0.4
Pamida 561.9 NA (6.5) (5.2)
Stein Mart 1,000.0 912.9 9.5 0.3
Target Corp. 29,011.0 NA 11.0 2.7
Target 24,369.0 NA 14.0 4.0
Mervyn's 2,541.0 NA (3.7) (3.5)
Marshall Field's 1,789.0 NA (2.6) (2.6)
TJX Cos. 8,562.0 7,567.0 13.1 4.0
Value City 1,772.0 1,651.0 7.3 (3.0)
Value City Dept. stores 1,062.7 1,052.0 1.0 (4.9)
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. 174,600.0 155,785.0 12.1 6.0
Wal-Mart stores 112,277.0 98,818.0 13.6 6.6
Sam's Clubs 22,979.0 21,132.0 8.7 3.3


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