NEW YORK — Early same-store sales reports indicate that a lot of February sales volume may have been lost in the drifts of the Presidents’ Day weekend blizzard.

This story first appeared in the March 6, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Nordstrom Inc. had to close multiple locations for a number of days during and after the storm, and, as a result, comped down 2.3 percent. However, the Seattle-based department store company said overall preliminary sales did increase, gaining 2.4 percent to $367.6 million from $359.1 million last year. The company said the results were in line with expectations.

In the specialty channel, early reports were also soft as both Aeropostale Inc. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. saw same-store sales retreat. New York-based Aeropostale said comps contracted 3.1 percent as total net sales rose 25.6 percent to $27.2 million from $21.6 million a year ago. The firm said its concentration of stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, which had to close for the storm, caused a mid-single-digit swing in comps for the month.

At Warrendale, Pa.-based American Eagle Outfitters, stores comped down 7 percent, and, if results from the firm’s Bluenotes and Thrifty’s operations are included, comps regressed 7.8 percent. Bluenotes and Thrifty’s comped down a precipitous 18.5 percent. The company’s total sales for the month rose 4.5 percent to $74.3 million from $71.1 million a year ago.

Among off-pricers, Factory 2-U Stores Inc. reported a 7.7 percent decline in same-store sales. The company said the performance was due more to low in-store inventories, and to a lesser extent, the inclement weather. Total sales dropped 15.2 percent to $28.8 million from $34 million in February of last year.

The majority of retailers report February sales today.

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