Inclement weather and thrifty consumers took their toll on January sales.
Providing a quarterly update, Kohl’s Corp. lowered its fourth-quarter earnings guidance to about $1.53 a diluted share, from earlier estimates of a range of $1.59 to $1.74, as weakness in January led it to a 2 percent same-store sales decline in the November-to-January period. Comps were up 0.8 percent during November and December.
“January sales were significantly lower than planned as a result of lower traffic and low levels of clearance merchandise,” the company said. “Unanticipated expenses in servicing its e-commerce business led to higher-than-expected costs for the quarter.”
The small sample of retailers continuing to report comparable sales on a monthly basis generally checked in with negative results, although two of the biggest – L Brands Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. – reported larger-than-expected increases.
L Brands lifted its fourth-quarter guidance after recording a 9 percent increase in comps for the month, including a 10 percent burst at Victoria’s Secret. However, the firm noted that its merchandise margins were down “significantly to last year, driven by deeper discounting and extended sale durations across our businesses.” Year-end inventories were up 9 percent per square foot.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected L Brands to report a comp increase of 0.5 percent, making for a substantial “beat." Costco reported a 5 percent increase in U.S. comps, excluding fuel, versus an expected boost of 4.8 percent.
Gap Inc. will report January results after the close of the markets today.
Stein Mart Inc., expected to post a flat comp, instead reported a 0.7 percent decline, lowering its fourth-quarter comp growth to 3.1 percent. Jay Stein, chief executive officer, said, “Our January sales were clearly impacted by the severe weather throughout most of the country. Factoring this out, our sales results for January were consistent with our performance through year-to-date December.” Sales grew 3.9 percent on a comp basis during the first 11 months of the fiscal year.
Teen retail’s struggles continued during the month, with both The Buckle Inc. and Zumiez Inc. falling well short of estimates with respective declines of 6.6 and 7.6 percent. Buckle had been expected to post a 1.2 percent pullback and Zumiez a 3.5 percent contraction.
A number of stores are expected, like Kohl’s, to provide quarterly updates for investors today. The Wet Seal Inc. said its fourth-quarter comp declines hit double-digit levels in the quarter, with corporate comps down 16.5 percent, the Wet Seal brand down 15.4 percent and the Arden B unit down 25 percent.
However, Ann Inc. said that its fourth-quarter comps expanded 3 percent with a 1 percent decline at the Ann Taylor brand offset by 6 percent growth at Loft.
“The company’s sales, gross margin and EPS for the fourth quarter of 2013 will be higher than the fourth quarter of 2012,” said Kay Krill, president and ceo of Ann Inc. “However, soft traffic and tepid consumer spending across the industry negatively impacted us, particularly in factory outlet centers and geographic regions that experienced extreme winter weather.”
She added that the company began the new fiscal year this month with “clean inventories and fresh spring product at both brands.”
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia