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  • Cecile Corral

May a Good Month for Many

NEW YORK - Almost all of the key retailers tracked monthly by HTT enjoyed comp increases in May, getting the second quarter period off to a smart start.
     Only Kohl's reported a comp decline - down 4.2% - which chairman, president and ceo Kevin Mansell described as "lower than our expectations" and the cause for the chain's softened guidance for Q2.
     "We now expect second quarter comparable store sales to be modestly negative," he said. "We made some progress in building our inventory levels, but continue to expect lower units to hinder our sales until the back-to-school season."
     Leading the pack as they have for the past several months were off-price rivals Ross Stores and TJX Companies, both posting 8.0% comp increases.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Same-store sales % change

WINNERS

Ross Stores

8.0%

TJX Cos.

8.0%

Costco Wholesale Corp.

5.0%

Target Corp.

4.4%

Macy's Inc.

4.2%

Stein Mart

3.1%

Duckwall-ALCO

1.8%

The Bon-Ton Stores

1.5%

Fred's Inc.

1.3%

LOSER

 

Kohl's

(4.2)%

     TJX boosted its secondquarter earnings guidance in the wake of the May numbers. During the month comparable store sales increased 8% both on a consolidated basis and at The Marmaxx Group, the company's largest division.
"We were particularly pleased to see all of our businesses across the U.S., Canada and Europe continue to post such consistent, strong performance. Once again, customer traffic was up significantly at every division, which we believe speaks to the power of our values, brands and fashions," said ceo Carol Meyrowitz.
     Ross Stores vice chairman and ceo Michael Balmuth said May sales "demonstrate that our ongoing focus on providing exciting assortments of name brand fashions for the family and the home continues to resonate with today's value-oriented consumers."
     With a 4.4% comp increase, Target's May results came in at the high end of the company's expected range, said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and ceo.
     However, home and hardlines comps decreased slightly.
     Macy's boasted of continued momentum for its sales and comps.
     "Growth ... came from stores and online, and across geography and categories of business," said Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and ceo.
     Online sales for macys.com and bloomingdales.com combined were up 42.3%in May and 35.7% year-to-date.
     May bought comp increases for Bon-Ton and Stein Mart after several months of struggle for both chains.
     Stein Mart posted a 3.1% comp increase after taking a 1.6% comp hit in April, thanks in part to continued strength in linens - among the strongest categories for the month.
     Jay Stein, interim ceo, noted that it has been "nearly six years since we had a monthly increase greater than this without the addition of a significant promotional event or impact from a calendar shift."
     Bon-Ton's 1.5% comp was attributed to "compelling new offerings and refinements in our marketing efforts," said Brendan Hoffman, president and ceo. In addition, its e-commerce business posted double digit sales increases.

MAY SALES FOR KEY RETAILERS

Five weeks ended May 26, 2012 (dollar amounts in millions) a

 

2012
SALES

2011
SALES

 TOTAL
% CHG.

SAME-STORE
% CHG.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc

$183.1

$181.0

1.2

1.5

Costco Wholesale Corp. b

$7,670.0

$7,140.0

7.0

5.0

Duckwall-ALCO Stores Inc.

$40.1

$38.4

4.4

1.8

Fred's Inc.

$152.1

$143.6

6.0

1.3

Kohl's Corp.

$1,337.0

$1,372.0

(2.6)

(4.2)

Macy's Inc.

$2,015.0

$1,936.0

4.1

4.2

Ross Stores Inc.

$746.0

$661.0

13.0

8.0

Stein Mart Inc.

$101.9

$98.5

3.4

3.1

Target Corp.

$5,038.0

$4,799.0

5.0

4.4

The TJX Companies Inc.

$1,900.0

$1,700.0

10.0

8.0

17 WEEKS


2012
SALES

2011
SALES

TOTAL
% CHG.

SAME-STORE
% CHG.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

$823.9

$830.9

-0.8

(0.7)

Costco Wholesale Corp.

$31,090.0

$27,680.0

12.3

NA

Duckwall-ALCO Stores Inc.

$157.3

$151.6

3.8

NA

Fred's Inc.

$652.6

$628.0

4.0

0.1

Kohl's Corp.

$5,580.0

$5,534.0

0.8

(0.9)

Macy's Inc.

$8,158.0

$7,825.0

4.3

4.3

Ross Stores Inc.

$3,103.0

$2,736.0

13.0

8.0

Stein Mart Inc.

$405.2

$402.0

0.8

0.4

Target Corp.

$21,575.0

$20,379.0

5.9

5.1

The TJX Companies Inc.

$7,700.0

$6,900.0

11.0

8.0

a. Reporting periods vary among retailers.

b. Costco’s May comp results are for the U.S. division and do not include the slightly negative impact of deflation in gasoline prices or the negative impact from foreign currencies. Including those impacts, comps for the month were up 5.0% in the U.S. division, 3.0% in the international division, and 4.0% for the total company.

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