By  on September 2, 2011

DE-COMP-RESSION: With privately held Neiman Marcus Inc. and publicly held Hot Topic Inc. electing to discontinue the monthly reporting of same-store sales and Walgreens holding off until next week, the number of companies and nameplates contributing to WWD’s comp chorus fell to 25 last month. That’s down from 31 at the end of 2010, when Abercrombie & Fitch Co., American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and Aérospotale Inc. last appeared, and 46 five years ago, when the list still included companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and a wide variety of specialty stores like New York & Company Inc. and Bebe Stores Inc.

TEEN SHEEN: Strength at Costco Wholesale Corp. and BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. helped elevate the discount sector to the strongest among those tracked by Thomson Reuters, with a 7.8 percent August comp jump, but teen retailers weren’t far behind — up 6.3 percent as the remaining teen retailers in the same-store sample came through with high- and midsingle-digit comp advances. The Buckle Inc.’s 8.3 percent jump wasn’t only the fourth best mark overall but the biggest “beat” versus expectations, which were for a 4.5 percent gain. The Wet Seal Inc. was up 5.5 percent, versus an anticipated 4.2 percent increase. Costco said Thursday that Jim Sinegal will step down as chief executive officer on Jan. 1 and be succeeded by Craig Jelinek, currently president and chief operating officer. Sinegal will remain a director of the firm and Jelinek will retain the title of president.

SCENE STEALER: Arriving on the Saturday that was the final day of most retailers’ fiscal month, Hurricane Irene, preparations for it and recovery efforts afterward certainly wreaked havoc with stores’ results. It also shifted the narrative for the month from the nation’s politics and finances to its meteorology. Putting things in perspective, John Cato, chairman, president and ceo of Cato Corp., commented, “August same-store sales continued to reflect the difficult economic situation facing many of our customers. Hurricane Irene had minimal negative impact on sales for the month.”

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