Recession-weary retailers were dogged by the dog days of August, judging by the months financial results for the companies tracked by Multichannel Merchant.
Total August sales for apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch dropped 23%, to $313.9 million, compared to $405.5 million in August 2008. Direct-to-consumer sales increased 1%, to $19.1 million. August same-store sales decreased 29%.
Neiman Marcus Direct’s sales for August inched up less than 1%. The division consists of the print catalog and online operations for Neiman Marcus and Horchow, as well as the Bergdorf Goodman Website. The top selling merchandise categories in the direct marketing segment included women’s contemporary apparel and dresses, beauty and shoes.
Meanwhile, August sales at women’s apparel marketer Victoria’s Secret Direct dropped 14%. “Demand improved versus the spring trend,” said Amie Preston, vice president of investor relations for parent company Limited Brands, during a conference call. Still, the demand was offset by “continued declines in clothing.”
Total August company sales for J.C. Penney Co. slipped 5.6%, to $1.42 billion, compared to $1.51 billion in August 2008. The general merchant no longer reports its direct sales results.
J.C. Penney officials said in a release that August sales were helped by the combination of a later start to the back-to-school selling period and the shift of several state tax-free shopping periods into this year’s fiscal August. But this benefit “was partially offset by the shift of Labor Day into the September reporting period,” according to the release.