September Comp Crux

September comparable-store sales came in not only significantly below those for August, but at their lowest level since June's uptick.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL BUMMER: September comparable-store sales came in not only significantly below those for August (up 6.1 percent) but, even when excluding the struggling drugstore sector, at their lowest level — up 3.6 percent — since June’s 2.5 percent uptick. And according to Thomson Reuters, the beat-miss ratio among reporting stores also approached the June swoon. Eight companies beat analysts’ expectations while nine missed them, although it took Target Corp.’s 0.1-point shortfall in its final episode of monthly reporting to pull the missers ahead of the beaters. In June, just six retailers beat estimates
while 12 missed them.

This story first appeared in the October 5, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

AMONG THE MISSING: The Buckle Inc., previously a dependable double-digit comp increase generator, has seen declines in three of the last four months. September’s 0.8 percent drop came against estimates of a 1 percent gain and, revealingly, against a September 2011 increase of 10.3 percent. Although they had respective gains of 2.5 and 4.4 percent, Macy’s Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. made rare visits to the miss list, joining midtier Kohl’s Corp. among the department store disappointments.

SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES: A Gap Inc. division with a double-digit sales increase? It’s becoming almost a common occurrence once again. Old Navy North America was up 10 percent last month, making the third time this fiscal year it’s moved into double-digit territory. Banana Republic enjoyed a 12 percent upswing in February and Gap a 13 percent bound in July. Gap’s international unit has continued to post same-store declines, including a 3 percent dip in September. Still, year-to-date corporate comps are up 5 percent.

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