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Cecile Corral

February Sales Show Strength

Although February was a weak month for home textiles sales, overall, retailers posted positive same-store gains.

Propelling that momentum were apparel and accessories merchandise and food products, for the most part, retailers reported.

The big comp winners for the month included a mixed group of stores: Target Corp. with a 9 percent gain, Saks Fifth Avenue Stores with 7.1 percent, Costco with 7 percent, BJ's Wholesale Club with 6.7 percent and Stein Mart with 6.2 percent.

At Target, decorative home was one of the store's poorest performers, along with garden place, home improvement, automotive and sporting goods.

Its best merchandise categories for the period were intimates and hosiery, ladies apparel, pharmacy and entertainment.

The comp sales losers list was led by Pier 1 Imports with a 15.3 percent decline, followed by Hancock Fabrics with an 8.1 percent drop, ShopKo stores down by 5.6 percent, May Dept. Stores losing 4.1 percentage points and Value City Department Stores, down 4 percent.

Pier 1 blamed its decline on a lack of national television advertising, some inclement weather and transitional store layouts with leaner inventories. On the heels of its new national advertising campaign and the arrival of new merchandise, the company expects to see an improved performance sometime around the second quarter.

“Throughout (February), stores continued to transition the sell-through of clearance merchandise as well as position newly arriving merchandise assortments in preparation for the company's new national advertising campaign that will launch on March 21,” said Marvin Girouard, chairman and CEO. “We expect that with these new initiatives, it will take until the end of the first quarter, or into the second quarter before we see increases in customer traffic and conversion rates.”

Target Rises, Pier 1 Sinks

Winners
Target Corp. +9.0%
Saks Fifth Avenue Stores 7.1
Costco 7.0
BJ's Wholesale Club 6.7
Stein Mart 6.2
Losers
Pier 1 Import –15.3%
Hancock Fabrics -8.1
ShopKo Stores -5.6
May Dept. Stores -4.1
Value City Department Stores -4.0


February sales for key retailers
Four weeks ended Feb. 26a , (dollar amounts in millions)

2005 sales 2004 sales Total % chg. Same-store % chg.
a. Reporting periods vary from store to store.
BJ's Wholesale Club $535.9 $485.2 10.4% 6.7%
The Bon-Ton Stores 74.8 77.0 (2.8) (2.5)
Costco 3,780.0 3,460.0 9.0 7.0
Dillard Dept. Stores 653.4 620.9 5.0 5.0
Dollar General 607.9 533.9 13.9 5.5
Family Dollar 458.1 404.3 13.3 4.9
Federated 1,087.0 1,069.0 1.6 1.8
Gottschalks 42.8 43.1 (0.6) (0.6)
Hancock Fabrics 31.4 34.7 (9.5) (8.1)
JCPenney 1,278.0 1,199.0 6.6 NA
Dept. stores 1,078.0 1,011.0 6.6 6.1
Catalog/e-commerce 200.0 188.0 6.4 NA
Jo-Ann Stores 128.5 123.6 4.0 1.6
Kohl's Corp. 712.7 592.2 20.4 6.1
May Dept. Stores 1,010.0 880.0 14.5 (4.1)
Pier 1 Imports 117.2 129.8 (9.7) (15.3)
Retail Ventures 182.6 166.1 9.9 1.5
Value City Department Stores 90.6 94.1 (3.7) (4.0)
Ross Stores 311.0 266.0 17.0 6.0
Saks Inc. 437.2 426.1 2.6 3.5
Saks Fifth Avenue Stores 188.2 178.9 5.2 7.1
Dept. stores 249.0 247.2 0.7 0.9
Sears U.S. sales 1,780.0 1,741.0 2.2 1.3
ShopKo 212.9 219.5 (3.0) (3.4)
ShopKo stores 157.8 166.8 (5.4) (5.6)
Pamida 55.1 52.7 4.5 3.4
Stein Mart 105.3 98.3 7.2 6.2
Target Corp. 3,376.0 2,907.0 16.1 9.0
TJX Cos. 1,000.0 934.0 12.0 6.0
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. 22,368.0 20162.0 10.9 4.1
Wal-Mart stores 15,134.0 13,628.0 11.1 4.1
Sam's Club 2,823.0 2,678.0 5.4 4.1


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