Thursday, May 7, 2009

April Same-Store Sales Round-Up

As expected, retailers benefited from the late Easter holiday, posting April same-store sales that were better than expected, as well as positive outlooks for earnings. However, overall comp. sales for the apparel sector were soft, indicating that consumer confidence is still low.

Analysts expected overall same-store sales to fall 0.2%, however Thomas Reuters reports overall same-stores sales increased 1.2%. Sans Walmart's numbers, sales fell 2.7% however that still tops the 3.4% drop analysts expected.

Still some are not impressed.
"It's hard to really ... be terribly excited," said Michael Niemira, chief economist with the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), since the results only demonstrate a move from "extreme weakness" to "moderate weakness. That progress toward improvement will continue."
The market's response was a dip in trading with the S&P Retail Index down 2%.

Here's the apparel retail round-up:

Walmart continues to prosper during these challenging economic times, posting a April comp. sales increase of 5% beating the 2.9% increase analysts' predicted. The company credits the Easter holiday shift as well as increased strength in seasonal and discretionary purchases. Walmart announced that they will no longer provide monthly comp. sales results, insteading opting to provide comp. sales results on a 13-week basis to be released during their scheduled quarterly earnings calls.

Macy's Inc.'s comp sales were down 9.1%, which were consistent with the company's expectations. The company forecasts a first-quarter loss of 19 cents to 21 cents per share, excluding restructuring costs. This beats Macy's earlier projections and Wall Street estimates of a 27 cents per share loss.

April same-store sales for Limited Brands fell 6%, slightly more than the 5.9% decline that was estimated.

High-end apparel retailers continues to struggle the most. April same-store sales for Abercrombie & Fitch were off 22% for April, which was under the 27.3% drop analysts predicted.

Nordstrom's April same-store sales dropped 10.8%, beating analysts' estimates of a 12.3% decline. The shift of the Easter holiday from March to April favorably affected sales, however the shift of the Nordstrom Rewards event for Nordstrom cardholders from late April to March offset any gains. The strongest performing merchandise categories were women's coats & dresses and junior women's apparel.

Saks Fifth Avenue continues to struggle, posting April comp. sales declines of 32%. The company blames the shift of a spring season clearance event from April to May as having a negative affect on sales results. However, management projects this event shift will positively impact sales in its second fiscal quarter.

Neiman Marcus April same-store sales fell 24.6% in its Specialty Retail Stores segment, which included Neiman Marcus stores and Bergdorf Goodman. Weakness was experiences across all geographies and merchandise categories.

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