follow us

Economy, hurricanes unkind to retailers in September   

New York – Retailers did not fare well in September, and home departments in general did not break out of the year-long doldrums.

With the Yom Kippur holiday tomorrow, many retailers reported September sales results a day early.

Food, consumables, health and wellness – and children’s clothing – were the categories Wal-Mart said were “strong” or “positive” in U.S. stores during the five-week retail month. Home departments were not mentioned.

Overall corporate sales at Wal-Mart were up 5.8% to $36.2 billion. Sales at U.S. Wal-Mart stores rose 4.8% to $22.8 billion, with a comparable-store gain of 2.0%. The comp gain at Sam’s Club was a robust 7.4%, yielding a 2.8% comp gain in the United States.

Target saw sales rise 2.5% to $5.32 billion, but comps slipped 3.0%. President and ceo Gregg Steinhafel said results were “below our expectations” and played it safe on projections: “On balance, we currently expect 2008 full year earnings per share to meet or exceed last year’s full year EPS of $3.33.” 

JCPenney saw volume drop 10.9% in September to $1.45 billion, with comparable store sales down 12.4%. The big mid-tier retailer cut its third quarter outlook from 70-75 cents per share to 50-60 cents per share.

Kohl’s sales edged up 0.6% to $1.34 billion, while comps fell 5.5%.

Sales of $299.4 million were off 2.7% at Bon-Ton; comps fell 4.6%. The 281-store department store retailer did manage a positive comment on home textiles. Tony Buccina, vice chairman and president - merchandising, said, “As the weather became more seasonal, categories such as outerwear, cold-weather accessories, boots and seasonal soft home posted strong results.”

Department store operator Dillard’s recorded a sales slide of 12% (comps fell the same amount) to $568.5 million. The company allayed about one-fourth of that decline to the effects of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Softlines specialty chain Stein Mart reported a sales falloff of 11.9% to $112.0 million, and a comp drop of 14.8%. The company cited “gifts and linens” as the month’s “most challenging businesses.” Stein Mart, a 280-unit Southeastern retailer, said it “lost a total of 111 store selling days” due to the effects of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Other Home Furnishings Sites

Casual Living
Gifts and Decorative Accessories
Home Accents Today
Kids Today
Home & Textiles Today