For retailers reporting same-store sales, February was a solid month save for a key player in the teen apparel segment.
Thomson Reuters noted that mean same-store sales came in with a 1.2 percent gain for the month. And in a separate report from Retail Next, the month’s in-store traffic showed a steep decline, but conversions were up after a flat reading in January. Results reflect an increase in online purchases during the month.
L Brands Inc. delivered a 5 percent gain in comparable store sales for the month with total comps rising 4 percent at Victoria’s Secret Stores and 9 percent at Bath & Body Works. The retailer operated 1,166 Victoria’s Secret Stores by the end of the month and 1,673 Bath & Body Works units. Globally, and including Henri Bendel, La Senza Canada and Pink U.K., L Brands operated 3,007 stores.
At Cato Corp. comps rose 4 percent. “February sales were significantly higher due to favorable sales comparisons because of the impact of weather to last year’s results,” said John Cato, chairman, president, and chief executive officer. The retail operated 1,372 stores in 32 states.
Same-store sales at The Buckle, results came in with a 8.9 percent decline while Zumiez Inc. said it was releasing results March 10. At Rite Aid Inc., front end same-store sales dropped 0.5 percent while its pharmacy’s comps dropped 0.9 percent.
Leveraging a growing interest in crafts by consumers, Tandy Leather Factory Inc. said February comps at its 82 Tandy Leather stores rose 2 percent. Mark Angus, interim president, said the “strength and weakness in our domestic sales is spread throughout the country — no region seems to be better or worse than another. Our February gross profit margins were better than a year ago so that is a bright spot in a somewhat challenging retail environment.”
Regarding physical stores, Retail Next said traffic declined 6.6 percent during the month while conversions rose 0.2 percent. Totals sales were down 6.9 percent average ticket prices were off 2 percent.
By region, the Northeast showed a 1.4 percent gain, which compares to a 11.2 percent decline in the South, a 1.3 percent drop in the Midwest and a 2.5 percent decrease in the West.
Looking ahead, analysts, as previously reported in WWD, are expecting an upcoming warming trend as well as tax checks flowing to consumers to bolster retail sales.