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May Comp Gains Dramatic at Upscale Chains

Don Hogsett -- Home Textiles Today, June 5, 2006

With upbeat consumers spending freely — at least those who could afford to fill up their tanks and still have something left over — American retailers reported a second straight month of solid gains.

The Johnson Redbook Index, which tracks same-store sales for leading retailers, said comps climbed higher by 4.3% for the 59 retail companies it tracks, following an even better 6.7% gain during April.

But the cheer only spread so far, and while upstairs retailers mostly took it to the bank, others struggled. Even Wal-Mart, which caters largely to the nation's low-income consumers — those hardest hit by prices at the pump, had a tough time of it. Same-store sales were up just 2.0%, at the low end of its original forecast of 2% to 4% growth.

Target, one of Wal-Mart's biggest rivals, goes after a more upscale consumer, and saw its same-store sales rise almost three times as fast, by 5.7%.

And as long as gas prices stay high, it could spell tough sledding ahead for the world's largest retailer. “Fuel prices continue to be a top concern for our customers,” said Wal-Mart executive vp and cfo Tom Schoewe. “We believe that our customers are consolidating their store visits and focusing their spending on consumables — a trend that we have been seeing since Easter.”

Among the biggest winners, some were predictable, like perennial heavy-hitter Costco with its double-digit gain. But a big surprise was the unusually strong performance at some department-store retailers, with same-store sales at JCPenney stores jumping up by 11.1%, and Federated soaring by 9.2%.

Winners and Losers

Winners
JCPenney Stores 11.1%
Costco 10.0
Federated Dept. Stores 9.2
Hancock Fabrics 5.9
Target 5.7
Ross 5.0
Losers
Jo-Ann Stores -7.6%
Pier 1 -6.6
Bon-Ton -4.1


May same-store sales for key retailers
Four weeks ended May 27a, (dollar amounts in millions)

2006 sales 2005 sales Total %chg. Same-store % chg.
a. Reporting periods vary from store to store.
b. Includes results from May Department Stores.
c. Reflects the sale of some department stores.
d. For the first 36 weeks of Costco's fiscal year.
e. 17-week same-store sales delcined 2.3 percent, including a 4.5 percent benefit from stores that are being liquidated in connection with store closing sale events.
f. For the first fiscal quarter and fiscal year to date.
BJ's Wholesale Club $655.5 $603.4 8.6 4.2
The Bon-Ton Stores $232.3 $89.0 161.0 (4.1)
Costco $4,710.0 $4,110.0 14.6 10.0
Dillard Dept. Stores $534.3 $519.0 2.9 2.9
Dollar General $687.0 $640.6 7.2 1.3
Family Dollar $489.9 $442.5 10.7 4.5
Federated b $2,026.0 $1,189.0 70.2 9.2
Fred's $127.8 $117.2 9.0 2.4
Gottschalks $48.9 $47.4 3.3 2.8
Hancock Fabrics $27.3 $25.9 5.4 5.9
JCPenney $1,383.0 $1,260.0 9.8 NA
Dept. stores $1,187.0 $1,067.0 11.2 11.1
Catalog/e-commerce $196.0 $193.0 1.6 NA
Jo-Ann Stores $109.8 $114.6 (4.2) (7.6)
Kohl's Corp. $1,002.9 $899.1 11.5 3.1
Pier 1 Imports $120.9 $126.3 (4.3) (6.6)
Ross Stores $417.0 $370.0 12.7 5.0
Saks Inc. c $231.2 $419.6 (44.9) 1.1
Saks Fifth Avenue Stores $175.3 $178.9 (2.0) 0.8
Dept. stores c $55.9 $240.7 (76.8) 2.2
Stein Mart $119.6 $117.9 1.5 1.0
Target Corp. $3,929.0 $3,500.0 12.3 5.7
TJX Cos. $1,300.0 $1,200.0 8.3 4.0
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. $26,285.0 $23,421.0 12.2 2.3
Wal-Mart Stores $16,901.0 $15,697.0 7.7 2.0
Sam's Club $3,281.0 $3,064.0 7.1 4.0
17 weeks YTD same-store sales for key retailersa
BJ's Wholesale Club $2,535.5 2,372.2 6.9 2.6
The Bon-Ton Stores $794.1 351.5 125.9 (3.2)
Costco d $39,450.0 $35,500.0 11.1 8.0
Dillard Dept. Stores $2,374.3 $2,323.1 2.2 2.2
Dollar General $2,800.0 $2,600.0 7.8 1.4
Family Dollar $4,816.7 NA 9.6 3.3
Federated b $7,956.0 $4,830.0 64.7 2.2
Fred's $544.7 $500.2 8.9 2.3
Gottschalks $192.4 $191.5 0.5 0.1
Hancock Fabrics $120.9 $123.7 (2.3) (2.3)e
JCPenney $5,603.0 $5,378.0 4.2 NA
JCPenney stores $4,722.0 $4,526.0 4.3 3.6
Catalog/e-commerce $881.0 $852.0 3.4 NA
Jo-Ann Stores $534.5 $535.3 (0.1) (4.7)
Kohl's Corp. $4,187.6 $3,641.9 15.0 6.0
Pier 1 Imports f $376.1 $390.3 (3.6) (6.6)
Ross Stores $1,708.0 $1,494.0 14.3 6.0
Saks Inc. c $1,262.6 $1,959.1 (35.6) (1.4)
Saks Fifth Avenue Stores $841.1 $878.0 (4.2) (1.6)
Dept. stores c $421.5 $1,081.1 (61.0) (1.1)
Stein Mart $484.5 $498.5 (2.8) (3.7)
Target Corp. $16,422.0 NA 11.9 5.3
TJX Cos. $5,200.0 $4,800.0 7.0 2.0
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. $107,809.0 $96,067.0 12.2 3.3
Wal-Mart stores $70,369.0 $64,343.0 9.4 3.1
Sam's Clubs $13,224.0 $12,393.0 6.7 4.2


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