If fall sales can predict holiday results, then four of the five publicly traded companies tracked by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT are in store for a profitable Christmas. All of the companies performed admirably in October, with the exception of Sharper Image Corp., as its sales continued to sink. Even Sharper Image, though, had reason to cheer: For the second straight month, the company’s catalog/direct marketing sales produced an increase in year-over-year results.
At upscale apparel and decor mailer Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes the Horchow and Neiman Marcus titles, October sales increased 12%, as they had the previous October. Dallas-based parent company Neiman Marcus Group boasted a 10% jump in total October revenue, to $351 million for the four weeks ended Oct. 28.
October direct sales for Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. increased 2%, which was in line with the company’s initial guidance and an improvement from last October’s 3% decrease. Total direct sales for the four weeks ended Oct. 28 were $240 million. Internet sales rose approximately 26%, besting last October’s increase of 20%. Department store sales increased 11%, to nearly $1.3 billion, with comparable store sales up 8%. Total company sales climbed 9.5%, to $1.53 billion.
Hampstead, MD-based men’s apparel cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers recorded a 10% increase in combined catalog and Internet sales for October. Total October sales soared 18%, to $29.6 million. Comparable store sales checked in with an 8% increase.
At women’s apparel merchant Victoria’s Secret Direct, combined Internet and catalog sales for October rose 20%, exceeding company expectations. Columbus, OH-based parent company Limited Brands reported a 10% increase in overall October sales, to $694.8 million. Comparable store sales increased 9%. In addition to Victoria’s Secret, Limited Brands includes the Express and Bath & Body Work retail chains.
October sales at San Francisco-based electronic gifts merchant Sharper Image fell 17%, to $38.1 million. But for the month ended Oct. 31, catalog/direct marketing sales (including wholesale) increased 2%, to $14.0 million, although Internet sales decreased 12%, to $5.7 million. Comparable store sales tumbled 31%.