April Sales Roundup

April was a bit kinder this year to the retailers tracked by Multichannel Merchant.

Total April sales for apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch rose 8%, to $214.3 million, compared to $199.1 million in April 2009. What’s more, direct-to-consumer sales soared 50%, to $23.1 million. Same-store sales slipped 7%.

Neiman Marcus Direct’s sales for April decreased 1.3%. The division consists of the print catalog and online operations for Neiman Marcus and Horchow, as well as the Bergdorf Goodman Website.

Meanwhile, April sales at women’s apparel marketer Victoria’s Secret Direct increased 22%.

On the downside, total April company sales for general merchant J.C. Penney Co. fell 3.7%, to $1.22 billion.

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April Sales Roundup

April wasn’t too kind to the retailers tracked by Multichannel Merchant.

Total April sales for apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch sank 16%, to $202.4 million, compared to $241.0 million in April 2008. Direct-to-consumer sales decreased 24%, to $15.2 million. Same-store sales for April fell 22%.

Luxury marketer Neiman Marcus Direct’s sales for April fell 12.3%. The division consists of the print catalog and online operations for Neiman Marcus and Horchow, as well as the Bergdorf Goodman Website.

April sales at women’s apparel marketer Victoria’s Secret Direct slipped 17%, “reflecting overall demand softness and driven by declines in most merchandise categories, particularly clothing,” said Amie Preston, vice president of investor relations for parent company Limited Brands, during a conference call.

J.C. Penney Co. was one of the lucky ones in that its sales shortfall was in the single digits. The general merchant no longer reports its direct sales results for the month, but its total company sales for April were down 5%, to $1.26 billion, compared to $1.33 billion in April 2008.

Company officials said in a release that sales benefited from the shift of Easter into the April reporting period this year. The top performing merchandise divisions during the month were women’s and children’s apparel, reflecting a strong customer response to the Company’s spring apparel offerings.

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April Sales Roundup

For April sales, our lineup of multichannel merchants shrank because Sharper Image Corp. and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers don’t report monthly sales anymore, while J.C. Penney Co. no longer reports its direct sales for the month. (For the record, J.C. Penney’s total sales for April inched up nearly 1%, to $1.33 billion, up from $1.32 billion.)

Here’s how the publicly traded companies tracked by Multichannel Merchant that do report monthly direct sales did:

April sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct increased 13%. Parent company Limited Brands reported a 16% decline in overall April sales, slipping to $577.5 million from $688.0 million a year ago. In addition to women’s apparel merchant Victoria’s Secret, Limited Brands owns the Express retail chain and cataloger/retailer Bath & Body Works.

Luxury merchant Neiman Marcus Group reported a slight drop in April sales for Neiman Marcus Direct, which consists of the print catalog and online operations for Neiman Marcus and Horchow as well as the Bergdorf Goodman Website. Neiman Marcus Direct sales for April were $343 million, compared with $346 million the previous year.

April sales at apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch increased 18%, to $241.0 million compared with $204.6 million in April 2007. Total direct-to-consumer sales jumped 47%, to $20.0 million for the four-week period ended May 3.

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April Sales Roundup

For many mass retailers, April was indeed a cruel month, with companies such as AnnTaylor, Dillard’s Department Stores, the Gap, and Kohl’s posting year-over-year sales declines. But for most of the publicly traded companies tracked by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT, the results weren’t quite as bad. But for the most part, they weren’t all that great either.

For instance, April sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct increased 2%, short of company expectations. Columbus, OH-based parent company Limited Brands reported a 1% decrease in overall April sales, to $688.0 million. In addition to women’s apparel merchant Victoria’s Secret, Limited Brands owns the Express retail chain and cataloger/retailer Bath & Body Works.

What’s more, vice president of investor relations Amy Preston for Limited said in a conference call that the company’s April merchandise margin rates were down significantly from last year “and below expectations, driven by unplanned promotions, which were implemented in response to slow traffic trends.”

Dallas-based luxury merchant Neiman Marcus Group reported a 2% jump in April sales for Neiman Marcus Direct, which consists of the print catalog and online operations for Neiman Marcus and Horchow as well as the Bergdorf Goodman Website. That’s significantly less than the 10% rise in year-over-year sales the division enjoyed in March. Total April revenue for the cataloger/retailer rose 3%, to $346 million.

April direct sales for J.C. Penney Co. took another step backward. After a 1% decline in March, April direct sales fell 8%, to $185 million from $201 million last year. Officials at the Plano, TX-based general merchandiser said direct sales “continue to be impacted by softness in home categories, which represent a large portion of the direct channel’s volume.”

On a positive note, Penney’s April Web sales rose 15%. April department-store sales, however decreased 3%, to $1.13 billion, and same-store sales declined 4.7%. Total April sales fell 3.5%, to $1.32 billion.

And the beat goes on at San Francisco-based Sharper Image Corp. April sales at the electronic gifts merchant fell 36%, to $21.3 million. Catalog/direct marketing sales (including wholesale) plummeted 69%, to $3.6 million from $11.5 million in April 2006. Internet sales declined 40%, to $3.2 million, and same-store sales decreased 11%.

It wasn’t all gray skies, however. April sales for Hampstead, MD-based Jos. A. Bank Clothiers rose 18.5%, to $45.5 million. The menswear cataloger/retailer posted a robust 30% rise in April direct sales, while same-store sales increased 7%.

And at Vernon Hills, IL-based computer products reseller CDW Corp., April sales increased nearly 29%, to $621.0 million. Average daily sales in April rose 23%, to nearly $29.6 million.

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April Sales Roundup

A different month but the same disappointing story for Sharper Image Corp. For the other publicly traded companies tracked by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT, however, April was far from the cruelest month.

At upscale apparel and decor mailer Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes the Horchow and Neiman Marcus titles, April sales increased 20%. Dallas-based parent company Neiman Marcus Group enjoyed a nearly 13% boost in year-over-year revenue, to $348 million for the four weeks ended April 29.

April sales at women’s apparel merchant Victoria’s Secret Direct rose 10%, to $315.5 million, for the four weeks ended April 29. Internet sales continue to exceed expectations. Parent company Limited Brands reported a 9% increase in overall April sales, to $653.2 million. In addition to Victoria’s Secret, Limited Brands includes the Express and Bath & Body Work retail chains.

The direct division of Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. posted a 1.5% increase in direct sales, to $201 million for the four weeks ended April 29. Internet sales increased 17. Penney’s department store sales were up 3%, to $1.168 billion. Total company sales also rose 3%, to $1.369 billion.

Hampstead, MD-based men’s apparel cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers posted a nearly 8% increase in April combined catalog and Internet sales. Total April sales climbed 18%, to $38.4 million for the four weeks ended April 29.

Following a decrease in year-over-year sales for March, The Talbots bounced back with a 9% jump in April sales, to $166.2 million for the four weeks ended April 29. The Hingham, MA-based apparel cataloger/retailer does not break out monthly catalog sales data but said in a statement it saw a “continuation of softer-than-anticipated catalog sales.”

Year-over-year sales at San Francisco-based Sharper Image sunk 23%, to $33.1 million for the month ended April 30. Catalog/direct marketing sales (including wholesale) fell 2%, to $11.5 million from $11.7 million the previous April; Internet sales decreased 30%, to $5.3 million from $7.6 million.

“Sales for the month of April continued to disappoint us,” CEO Richard Thalheimer said in a statement. Nonetheless, there was a bright side: “Although overall sales continued to be affected by planned lower total advertising expenditures, we saw improving returns on infomercial spending throughout the quarter and, as a result, experienced higher infomercial sales, particularly in March and April.”

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April Sales Roundup

April was another strong month for most of the publicly traded cataloger/retailers.

For example, total catalog sales at Sharper Image increased 25%, to $13.5 million from last April’s $10.8 million. Internet sales increased 36%, to $8.3 million from $6.1 million. Total sales at the San Francisco-based high-tech gadgets cataloger/retailer increased 20%, to $46.0 million from last year’s $38.5 million. Total store sales increased 12%, to $24.2 million.

Dallas-based Neiman Marcus Direct, which mails the Horchow, Neiman Marcus, and Chef’s Catalog titles, also had reason to smile. For April, direct sales increased 10%. Total revenue at parent company Neiman Marcus increased 14%, to $274 million.

Men’s apparel cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers reported a 7% increase in April catalog and Internet sales. Total sales at the Hampstead, MD-based company grew 14%, to $26.0 million compared with $22.9 million the previous April.

Columbus, OH-based Limited Brands, which includes the Express retail chain as well as the Victoria’s Secret women’s apparel catalog, reported a comparable store sales increase of 2% for the month ended May 1. Total net sales for fiscal April $586.6 million, compared with sales of $580.6 million for April 2003. Net sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct were up 8%.

New York-based Bluefly, an online cataloger of discounted designer apparel, reported a 27% leap in April net sales, to $3.4 million from more than $2.6 million last year.

Sales of apparel at full-prices fueled a 6% revenue increase at Hingham, MA-based cataloger/retailer The Talbots. Total company sales for the four weeks ended May 1 were $139.2 million. Though The Talbots does not release monthly catalog sales data, it did report catalog sales of $65.6 million for the quarter, down slightly from $65.8 million for the first quarter of last year.

Catalog/Internet sales at Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. increased slightly to $176 million, from $175 million the previous April. Internet sales continue to experience strong growth, increasing about 35% for the month. Total company sales increased 4%, to $1.3 billion.

As for Downers Grove, IL-based Spiegel Group, the parent company of Eddie Bauer and Newport News suffered a 10% decline in April net sales, to $104.4 million from $115.6 million last year. Direct net sales for the three brands fell just 4% for the month compared to the same period last year, reflecting lower sales for Eddie Bauer and Spiegel Catalog, but offset by sales growth at Newport News. The sales increase for Newport News was primarily driven by higher response to catalog mailings. The company also reported that April comparable-store sales for its Eddie Bauer division decreased 1%.

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The Gift of Wow: Preparing your store for the holiday season - Netsuite
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April sales roundup

Catalogers are hoping that the axiom “April showers bring May flowers” applies to sales figures. Most of the publicly traded marketers tracked by CATALOG AGE reported damp, dismal April sales.

Plano, TX-based general merchant J. C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) reported a 24% decline in its catalog business. For the four weeks ended April 27, catalog sales were $189 million, compared with $248 million last April. This isn’t disappointing news for Penney, though. The cataloger/retailer says it’s in line with expectations, as the company continues to make changes, which include circulation cuts, to its catalog business. What’s more, Penney’s comparable department store sales performed 6% above plan.

Planned circulation cuts also cut into sales at Hingham, MA-based The Talbots (NYSE: TLB). The cataloger/retailer of women’s and children’s apparel reported an 11% decline in April catalog sales, to $69.6 million from $78.0 million last year. Total company sales for the four weeks ended May 4 were $130.1 million, down 7% from last April’s $140.6 million. Comparable store sales decreased 12% for April.

Downers Grove, IL-based The Spiegel Group (Nasdaq: SPGLE), which mails the Eddie Bauer, Newport News, and Spiegel catalogs, reported a 19% sales decline, to $167.0 million for the four weeks ended April 27, compared with $205.4 million in sales last year. Total direct sales declined 22%, but Internet sales increased 11% for the month. Eddie Bauer store sales fell 14%.

Broken out by brand, sales at apparel and home goods cataloger/retailer Eddie Bauer fell 9%, while the Spiegel catalog group took a 27% hit, and lower-priced apparel and home goods mailer Newport News suffered a 33% plunge. The sales decline at Newport News and Spiegel primarily reflect the recently implemented credit-granting policies. Having suffered higher delinquency rates largely by granting credit to high-risk consumer, the company tightened its criteria.

Apparel cataloger/retailer J. Crew saw April catalog sales tumbled 18%, to $25.0 million from $30.4 million. But Web sales more than made up for that, rising 23%, to $31.2 million from $25.3 million. All told, the New York-based company’s total April sales inched upward ever so slightly, to $54.8 million from $54.5 million last year, despite a 13% decline in comparable store sales.

The sun did shine on Hampstead, MD-based Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (NasdaqNM: JOSB) in April, however. The men’s apparel cataloger/retailer enjoyed an 18% jump in total sales, to $20.1 million for the four weeks ended May 4. Combined catalog and Internet sales increased 21%, while comparable store sales rose 8%.

Partner Content

The Gift of Wow: Preparing your store for the holiday season - Netsuite
Being prepared for the holiday rush used to mean stocking shelves and making sure your associates were ready for the long hours. But the digital revolution has changed everything, most importantly, customer expectations. Retailers with a physical store presence should be asking themselves—what am I doing to wow the customer?
3 Critical Components to Achieving the Perfect Order - NetSuite
Explore the 3 critical components to delivering the perfect order.
Streamlining Unified Commerce Complexity - NetSuite
Explore how consolidating multiple systems through a cloud-based commerce platform provides a seamless experience for both you, and your customer.
Strategies for Maximizing Mobile Point-of-Sale Technology - NetSuite
Learn the top five innovative ways to utilize your mobile POS technology to drive customer engagement, increase sales and elevate your brand.