Shoppers

It stands to reason that if you have good news, you shout it to the hills. If it’s not so good, you’ll be less inclined to talk.

A handful of retailers commented on Black Friday weekend sales as they reported their third-quarter earnings and it was clear who was doing well by their emotive remarks. Several groused about the promotional environment and the slow traffic.

Tilly’s chief executive officer Edmond Thomas said, “I think we were one of the few retailers that did not run 50 percent or higher off the whole store and overall we were pleased with our results and certainly more profitable as a result.” The company said traffic in general was down across the country. “I’m encouraged with what I’ve seen over the past few days and I would expect that momentum to continue.”

Jay Schottenstein, ceo of American Eagle Outfitters, said, “Our fourth quarter and holiday season have gotten off to a good start and we’re working hard to deliver continued momentum and returns to our shareholders.” The company said it was pleased with the results over Thanksgiving weekend, including Cyber Monday, even though mall traffic was down. “Our AEO store comps were up slightly through Monday, and based on the external reports about mall traffic, would indicate that we pretty significantly leveraged the mall traffic,” it said, adding a combination of strong online business and in-store sales gave it positive comps.

Pacific Sunwear of California ceo Gary Schoenfeld was also pleased with its start to the holiday season. Schoenfeld said, “We had an 11 percent positive comp on Black Friday along with strong results online through Cyber Monday and we finished the month of November with a positive 1 percent comp.”

L Brands was in the holiday spirit with its sales. Amie Preston, chief of investor relations, said, “We are well-positioned for holiday, which started with record results over the Black Friday weekend and we are excited for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which will air on Dec. 8.”

Express kept its comments in check. Ceo David Kornberg said, “We have made significant progress since the year began and I believe we are well-positioned to the holiday season.” Chief operating officer Matthew Moellering said the company was bucking the slow traffic trend.

PVH ceo Emanual Chirico said, “For the Black Friday weekend, comp sales increased 11 percent over the same time frame a year ago.” The company said it expects the holiday season to be highly promotional, especially on cold weather product. While shoppers may not need sweaters, underwear seems to be in demand. PVH said it was seeing strength in its Warner’s intimate business at stores like Kohl’s Corp.

Some retailers had mixed results with parts of the company performing well, while other brands struggled. Ascena and Genesco gave a mixed report card for the Black Friday weekend.

Ascena saw good results at Justice and Ann. Ceo David Jaffe said, “Justice is clearly a huge gift-giving destination and we wanted to call out their performance during the Black Friday weekend, which was terrific. But while we’re on it, let me just throw out that Ann had a very strong performance as well and they exceeded expectations, so very pleased there.” The other brands were below expectations, which gave the company a mixed result.

Genesco seems a little worried about the season. Robert Dennis, ceo, said, “Obviously the first three weeks were soft and then a pretty good burst on the one holiday week. But that leaves us concerned that we’ll go into December with another round of weakness that will trigger promotions, not necessarily by our teams, but within the marketplace.”

Aéropostale was lacking the holiday spirit. Chief financial officer David Dick said, “Based on the October sales shortfall and a slow start to November, inventory levels are higher than we expected. As we work through excess inventory, we anticipate gross margin pressure and project ending fourth-quarter inventory to be up low single digits per square foot.” Ceo Julian Geiger said the company saw an improvement over Black Friday weekend with sales driven by a flat comp in the Aero brick-and-mortar stores and a negative mid-single-digit comp overall.

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