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Christmas Tidings

Come holiday time, stores of every stripe are putting their most promotional foot forward. The month of December accounts for a disproportionate amount of yearly sales for many retailers. Here’s how much business different types of stores did...

Come holiday time, stores of every stripe are putting their most promotional foot forward. The month of December accounts for a disproportionate amount of yearly sales for many retailers. Here’s how much business different types of stores did during December 2001.

This story first appeared in the December 12, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

1

JEWELRY STORES

Dec. 2001: 22.3 percent, $5.5 billion; Total year: $24.8 billion

Jewelry stores rely heavily on December sales. Zale’s newspaper inserts tout sale items and offer 12 months of interest-free financing. Tiffany & Co.’s financing deal sounds like a come-on for car buyers: no money down and no interest for 90 days, a policy the company said was instituted in 1837.

2

CONVENTIONAL AND NATIONAL CHAIN DEPARTMENT STORES

Dec. 2001: 16 percent, $14.7 billion; Total year: $92.3 billion

National department stores have a lot of eggs in the Christmas basket. J.C. Penney Co. chairman and ceo Allen Questrom said: “There is no other basket. The fourth quarter represents 40 to 70 percent of people’s profits.” Despite discounts, Sears said it’s focused on growing its top line throughout the year.

3

FAMILY CLOTHING STORES

Dec. 2001: 14.6 percent, $8.4 billion; Total year: $57.3 billion

What would Christmas be without cashmere? The ubiquitous luxury fiber is in evidence everywhere from Kohl’s Croft & Barrow separates, originally $68 to $80, on sale for $34 to $40, to Nordstrom’s cashmere mock-turtle tunic, a deal at $149.

4

WOMEN’S CLOTHING STORES

Dec. 2001: 14.5 percent, $4 billion; Total year: $32.8 billion

At Ann Taylor Loft, items are showcased in the windows with large hangtags reading “$10 off.” Calvin Klein is running discreet ads announcing a 40-percent-off sale on fall collections. At Bebe, selected items are discounted up to 70 percent.

5

DEPARTMENT STORES

Dec. 2001: 14.5 percent, $33.3 billion; Total year: $230 billion

Lord & Taylor has been running full-page ads touting a laundry list of categories on sale including handbags, reduced 50 percent, and already reduced watches discounted an extra 40 percent. Macy’s advertises doorbusters, red-star specials and super buys with 40 to 50 percent off coats and sweaters.

6

DISCOUNT STORES

Dec. 2001: 13.5 percent, $18.6 billion; Total year: $137.8 billion

Kmart began its holiday advertising about two weeks earlier than usual to promote the new Martha Stewart holiday collection and the Joe Boxer brand. At Wal-Mart, the “Every Day Low Price” mantra is a recurring theme throughout the season. “We’re competing like heck on price,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said.

7

GENERAL MERCHANDISE STORES

Dec. 2001: 13.5 percent, $58.2 billion; Total year: $430.4 billion

The category, as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, takes in conventional department stores, discounters, supercenters, warehouse clubs and dollar stores, which include chains such as Goody’s and Dollar General, where the motto is, “Nothing should cost more than it comes to.”

8

WAREHOUSE CLUBS AND SUPERSTORES

Dec. 2001: 12 percent, $20 billion; Total year: $164.5 billion

Sure, Costco sells bulk toilet paper and cleaning products, but it also carries gifts, including .33-carat, three-diamond necklaces for $389.99, XBOX bundles for $239.99 and two-speed John Deere Gators licensed to yuppie stroller manufacturer Peg Perego for $329.99.

9

ELECTRONIC SHOPPING AND CATALOGS

Dec. 2001: 10.9 percent, $11.7 billion; Total year: $106.5 billion

Gap’s online store features 25 percent off jackets and free shipping on purchases of $100 or more. J. Crew’s Web site has an entire page devoted to holiday sales, including 30 percent off sweaters and 20 to 40 percent off outerwear.

10

SHOE STORES

Dec. 2001: 10.8 percent, $2.4 billion; Total year: $21.6 billion

While shoes aren’t a traditional holiday gift, December is still the biggest month for this retail category. And what woman wouldn’t want to find a pair of Blahniks under the tree?

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Surveys Branch