Many Retailers Suffer Through Rough January

January sales reports are out. It's not looking a whole lot better than December. A lot of retailers are dealing with some calendar issues in addition to the slowing consumer market. Last year's fiscal calendar included 53 weeks for a lot of firms. So taking that into account is having an effect on the numbers. For example, some firm's January 2007 sales periods included five weeks versus four weeks this year. In looking at the figures, here's the full context on the period retailers are basing their comparable-store sales figures.

Update: ICSC just released its report (membership req.). It's survey shows chain store sales rose only 0.5 percent in January--the worst single month since April 1997 and the worst figure for January since this data began being tracked in 1969.

Here's an excerpt from the report:

The poor showing in January was, in part, accentuated by a mismatched fiscal

calendar ("the 53rd week effect") between 2007 and 2006, but even adjusting for that headline weakness in the year-over-year growth rates, the store sales performance was generally weak. Representative of this calandar[sic] distortion, Dillard's reported that "the New Year's Day shopping activity occurred in the December fiscal month this year and in the January fiscal month last year. [Dillard's] management estimates that the unfavorable impact of this New Year's Day-related calendar shift [was a drag on sales growth of] approximately 8 percentage points

for both total and comparable stores for the four-week period."

These retailers reported sales for the four-week period ended Feb. 2, 2008 in comparison to the four-week period last year ended Feb. 3, 2007.

Retailer Same-Store Sales
The Buckle +19.1%
Wilsons The Leather Experts +10.4%
BJ'S Wholesale Club +7.8%
Costco +7.0%
Aeropostale +4.7%
TJX +3.0%
Ross Stores +1.0%
Stage Stores +1.0%
Wal-Mart (four weeks ended 2/1/2008) +0.9% (+0.5% excluding fuel)
Abercrombie & Fitch 0.0%
Family Dollar -0.1%
Jos. A. Bank -1.1%
Bon-Ton Stores -1.3%
JCPenney -1.9%
Cato -2.0%
Gap -2.0%
Stein Mart -2.5%
The Wet Seal -5.7%
Christopher & Banks (used 5-week periods for both years) -6.0%
Nordstrom -6.6%
American Eagle Outfitters -7.0%
Macy's -7.1%
Gottschalks -7.4%
Limited Brands -8.0%
Chico's FAS -22.1%

(Wal-Mart's periods end Jan. 5, 2007 and Jan. 4, 2008.)

These retailers reported sales for the four-week period ended February 2, 2008 compared with the four-week period ended January 27, 2007.

Retailer Same-Store Sales
Saks +4.1%
Ann Taylor 0.0%
Target -1.1%
Kohl's -8.3%
Dillard's -12.0%

These retailers reported sales for the four-week period ended January 31, 2008 compared with the four-week period ended January 31, 2007.

Retailer Same-Store Sales
Mothers Work -2.1%
Havertys -8.4%
Sharper Image -11.0%

Some retailers reported figures for longer periods.

For the most recently completed quarter.

Retailer Same-Store Sales
Gymboree +10.0% (Q ending 2/2/08)
Jo-Ann Stores +3.3% (Q ending 2/2/08)
Retail Ventures -0.1% (Q ending 2/2/08)
Dollar Tree -0.8% (Q ending 2/2/08)
Big Lots -0.6% (Q ending 2/2/08)
DSW -1.7% (Q ending 2/2/08)
New York & Co. -3.5% (Q ending 2/2/08)
Talbots -6.0% (Q ending 2/2/08)
Finlay Enterprises -6.4% (Q ending 2/2/08)
Bakers Footwear -6.8% (Q ending 2/2/08)
Shoe Carnival -7.3% (Q ending 2/2/08)
Zale Corp. -7.3% (Q ending 1/31/08)


Retailer Same-Store Sales
Neiman Marcus +3.3% (Comparable Revenues; 4 weeks ended 1/26/08 vs. 1/27/07)

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