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Apparel Store Sales Rose in October

Apparel store sales performance picked up in October as retailers managed to close their books just before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. Total sales rose a collective 4.8% for the top 15 retailers that still report monthly sales, better than last month, but a bit below expectations.
Sales at stores open at least a year, or same-store sales, rose a collective 4.1%, more than a point higher than Septembers 3% increase.

Teen retailer Zumiez skated to the top of the pack for the eleventh straight month with a 20% increase in total sales but only a .6% same-store sales rise, worse than the 4.5% gain expected by analysts. Buckle improved over last month by posting a total sales increase of 5.6% and a 3.8% rise in comps. Drowning specialty retailer Wet Seal saw total and same-store sales plunge yet again, marking its seventh straight month at the bottom of the pack.
Gap, well into a turnaround, had its fourth straight month of sales gains thanks to dramatic improvements in the North American businesses, even though the 4% increase in same-store sales fell short of expectations. Total sales increased by 7%, to $1.45 billion.
Off-pricers Ross Stores and TJX were again among the biggest total sales gainers for the month, as they continued to offer customers high quality and department store brands at discount prices. Ross saw total sales climb 8.2% to $715 million for the month, while TJX also beat expectations with a total sales gain of 10.5% and a same-store sales increase of 7%.
Department stores posted better-than-expected results, for the most part. Stage Stores delivered an upside surprise again in October, with total sales up 10.8% and comps gaining 6.5%. Macy’s beat expectations with total and comp sales increases of 3.6% and 4.1%, respectively. Kohl’s also exceeded plan with a 4.6% increase in total sales and a 3.3% jump in comps. The Menomonee Falls, WI-based retailer announced it would stop reporting monthly sales in early 2013.
Nordstrom, the only high-end department store to still report on a monthly basis, had an excellent month, with total sales up 11.5% and comps rising an impressive 9.8%.
Limited Brands turned in a disappointing same-store sales gain of only 3%, its lowest in several months, and a drop in total sales of 6.3%, due to the continuing negative effect of the sale of its third-party sourcing business.
Target failed to meet estimates with total sales up by 3% and comps ahead by only 2.4%. However, much of Target’s sales are in non-apparel. Taking the impact of Target out of the results, total sales rose 5.9% and comps jumped 6.5%. The discounter will cease to report monthly sales results after January 2013.

% Total vs LY
$
Millions
% Comps vs LY
Company
Oct
FYTD
Oct
FYTD
Oct
FYTD
Zumiez
20.1
20.8
42
370
0.6
10.0
Nordstrom
11.5
11.4
835
8,166
9.8
7.7
Stage Stores
10.8
8.2
113
1,118
6.5
5.3
TJX
10.5
10.3
2,100
18,200
7.0
8.0
Ross
8.2
12.1
715
6,960
4
7
Gap
7.0
6.4
122
10,930
4.0
5.0
Buckle
5.6
5.2
84
763
3.8
3.2
Kohl’s
4.6
1.2
1,392
12,937
3.3
-0.5
The Bon Ton
3.7
0.2
199
1,904
3.7
0.3
Macy’s
3.6
3.7
1,908
18,337
4.1
3.7
Target Corp
3.0
4.3
4,982
49,589
2.4
3.7
Cato
2.6
0.4
64
702
0.0
2.0
Steinmart
1.8
2.0
87
849
1.7
1.3
Wet Seal
-4.9
-7.0
39
425
-7.7
-10.1
Limited
-6.3
-3.6
611
6,603
3.0
7.0
Total
4.8
5.1
13,293
137,853
4.1
4.4
Total xTarget
5.9
5.6
8,311
88,264
6.5
7.1

 

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