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  • Andrea Lillo

There was no joy in retail holiday sales

Retailers failed to get the holiday sales they were hoping for in December, resulting in disappointing numbers to close out a difficult year.

But looking to achieve better sales in what has traditionally been a slow month, many retailers have extended their sales periods this month to grab a few more dollars before the fiscal year's end.

The Redbook Same-Store Sales Index for December inched up to 0.7 percent, and most of the individual store formats also saw slight increases, led by discounters with 2.8 percent. [Starting this month, HTT will now use the Redbook Index instead of the Prudential Securities monthly index.] Wal-Mart Stores had comps of 2.3 percent, and the Wal-Mart division 3.3 percent. At Target Corp., the Target division had a 1.0 percent increase, but the corporation was dragged down by its department store divisions to a negative 0.3 percent. Dollar General and Family Dollar also inched up for the month, with 2.3 percent and 2.1 percent increases, respectively.

The department store format fell by 1.9 percent in December, according to Redbook, and most companies in this category reported negative figures. JCPenney, however, stood out with its 4.7 percent comp store climb for the month. It, along with Elder-Beerman, Dillard's, Saks Department Store Group and Mervyn's, credited the home area as one of the strongest performing merchandise categories for December. Kohl's Corp. same-store sales climbed up 3.3 percent for December.

The off-price and club formats also saw slight increases of 2.0 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. The MarMaxx group of TJX, which includes T.J. Maxx and Marshall's, had flat same-store sales for the month, though home fashions grew by two percent.

TOP 3

COMPANY % CHG.
Jo-Ann Stores 13.7%
Hancock Fabrics 13.6
Ross Stores 6.0
BOTTOM 3
COMPANY % CHG.
Mervyn's -8.2%
Marshall Field's -5.2
May Dept. Stores -4.7


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