By  on February 8, 2013

DOUBLE-DIGIT DOOZY: The surprising strength of January’s comparable-store sales numbers — even given the smaller and still-shrinking size of the comp base — produced a phenomenon not seen since the days of heated inflation and heavy spending. Four of the five department stores reporting results for the month managed increases of more than 10 percent, with Kohl’s Corp. getting its act together to report an industry-leading 13.3 percent increase for the month as all merchandise categories except footwear generated double-digit increases.

BEATIFIC TREND: Two-thirds of the stores reporting beat the results expected by analysts, with Kohl’s margin over the 3.1 percent gain expected itself surpassing 10 percent. The 1.9 point “beat” margin overall — Thomson Reuters’ 5 percent median gain versus expectations of a 3.1 percent growth rate — was even higher when drugstores are excluded: up 5.8 percent versus an expected 3.5 percent jump. Like the International Council of Shopping Centers, Thomson Reuters lauded it as the best gain since September 2011, when comps on average grew 5.6 percent.

RELATED STORY: After Soft Holiday, Markdowns Drive January Comps >>

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