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HTT Retailers Fall Short in Comp Store Gains

New York — February's same-store sales for key American retailers came up short when compared with the month before, alarming Wall Street and investors. But the numbers look even worse when stacked up against the year before, February 2005.

Only a small handful of the retailers tracked each month by HTT managed to meet or exceed last February's results: Bon Ton, Costco and Gottschalks. All the others fell short by varying degrees. Nowhere was the contrast more glaring than at Stein Mart, where same-store sales dropped off by 8.5% this year, compared with a big 6.2% increase the year before — a dramatic shift of 14.7 percentage points.

Virtually no one was spared, and even high-fliers like Target couldn't come close to last year's results. Mega-retailer Wal-Mart couldn't do it either, but it lost the least ground, just 1.3 percentage points, with this year's 2.9% increase modestly shy of last year's growth of 4.2%.

Top line troubles
Retailers took a pounding compared with '05 (ranked by magnitude of year-over-year shift in same-store sales)

Feb. '06 Feb. '05 Swing in Sales percentage points
Source: The Conference Board
Stein Mart -8.5% 6.2% 14.7
Family Dollar -2.5 4.9 7.4
Dillard -2.0 5.0 7.0
Saks Dept. Stores -6.1 0.9 7.0
Dollar General -0.5 5.5 6.0
Target 3.6 9.0 5.4
Jo-Ann Stores -3.7 1.6 5.3
BJ's 1.6 6.7 5.1
TJX 1.0 6.0 5.0
JCPenney 2.3 5.9 3.6
Kohl's 3.4 6.1 2.7
Wal-Mart Stores 2.9 4.2 1.3

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