MOST AUG. STORE SALES GOOD, BUT UPS STRIKE HURT SOME

COLUMBUS — In another sign that retailers generally did well in August, Intimate Brands Inc. said Wednesday that same-store sales last month gained 7 percent, while total sales for the four weeks ended Aug. 30 rose 18 percent to $226.6 million.
Most major retailers are scheduled to report August sales results today. This week, analysts said same-store sales gains should average between 3.5 and 4.7 percent. However, some retailers were hurt by the UPS strike. Claire’s Stores, for example, said Wednesday that its August same-store sales were flat, though total sales for the month gained 8 percent to $39.3 million.
“It’s obvious that the UPS strike had a greater-than-expected impact on us,” Rowland Schaefer, chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “We anticipated the strike and made arrangements with four other carriers for delivery of our merchandise to stores,” he said.
“Unfortunately, those other carriers were slower and less efficient than UPS, which meant that a significant number of our stores were short of merchandise in the heart of the back-to-school selling season.”
He noted that the company is back on schedule and has “every expectation” of regaining its sales strength.
For the year-to-date, same-store sales were ahead 6 percent, and total sales jumped 15 percent to $263.8 million from $229.4 million.
Claire’s currently operates 1,600 stores in 49 states.

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