August Sales Roundup

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.

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August Sales Roundup

August was an example of the down economy’s effect on some of the companies tracked by Multichannel Merchant.

Apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch’s total August sales fell 5%, to $405.5 million, compared to $425.4 million in August 2007. What’s more, direct-to-consumer sales tumbled 8%, to $18.9 million. To make matters worse, August same-store sales decreased 11%.

August sales at Neiman Marcus Direct slipped 1.1%. The division consists of the print catalog and online operations for Neiman Marcus and Horchow, as well as the Bergdorf Goodman Website.

J.C. Penney Co. no longer reports its direct sales results, but the general merchant saw same-store sales slip 4.9%. Total sales in August sank 3.2%, to $1.51 billion, down from $1.56 billion for August 2007.

On a bright note, August sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct shot up a whopping 214%. Amie Preston, vice president of investor relations for parent company Limited Brands, said during a conference call that the reason for the massive increase in Victoria’s Secret Direct’s August sales was because last year’s sales were “negatively impacted by shipping delays associated with the opening of the new distribution center.”

Victoria’s Secret Direct’s sales in August 2007 plunged 64% due to the opening of the new distribution center, which caused delays in shipment time.

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August Sales Roundup

It was definitely the dog days of summer for most of the publicly traded companies tracked by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT. With few exceptions, August sales increases were scarce or nonexistent.

August direct sales for J.C. Penney Co. increased 3.6% to $202 million, compared with $195 million in August 2006. Internet sales for the Plano, TX-based general merchant rose nearly 24%, on top of a 16% rise in August last year. Total company sales slipped 1.1%, to $1.56 billion.

Meanwhile, Dallas-based luxury merchant Neiman Marcus Group reported a 2.5% rise in August 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. Total August revenue for the cataloger/retailer increased 7%, to $283 million.

August was a solid month for Hampstead, MD-based Jos. A. Bank Clothiers. The merchant’s sales for the month jumped 14.5%, to $33.9 million, up from $29.6 million in August 2006. The menswear cataloger/retailer posted a 1.1% rise in August direct sales, while same-store sales rose 7.7%.

It was a rough month for Columbus, OH-based retailer parent company Limited Brands. August sales for the company’s Victoria’s Secret Direct took a direct hit, plunging 64% compared with August sales in 2006. Limited Brands blames the shortfall on the back end. Its vice president of investor relations Amie Preston addressed the situation during a company conference call. “We transitioned to a new distribution center in August and experienced delays in shipment time,” she said. “Demand from customers as measured by orders received was roughly flat for the month of August, however, sales are not recognized until orders are received by customers.” The company anticipates that the new DC will be operating under normal ship times by the end of September, “and we expect a significant increase in September sales versus last year as we clear the current backlog,” she said.

And finally, the bleak times continued for San Francisco-based Sharper Image Corp. August sales at the electronic gifts merchant sunk 34%, to $21.9 million, compared to $33.4 million in August 2006. Catalog/direct marketing sales (including wholesale) plummeted 67%, to $3.1 million from $9.3 million last year. Internet sales fell 40%, to $2.9 million, and same-store sales decreased 16%.

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August Sales Roundup

August was yet another difficult month for Sharper Image Corp., as its sales continued to slide, though on a brighter note, the company’s catalog/direct marketing sales increased 5%. For the other publicly traded companies tracked by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT, August was more memorable.

At upscale apparel and decor mailer Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes the Horchow and Neiman Marcus titles, August sales increased 19.3%. Dallas-based parent company Neiman Marcus Group boasted a 7.4% jump in year-over-year revenue, to $270 million for the four weeks ended Aug. 26.

Direct sales for Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. increased slightly, 0.5%, for the four weeks ended Aug. 26. The increase was in line with the company’s initial guidance. Total direct sales for the month were $195 million. Internet sales rose approximately 16%, coupled with an increase of nearly 30% last year. Department store sales inched ahead, 0.7%, to $1.38 billion. Total company sales also increased 0.7%, to $1.58 billion. Comparable store sales decreased 0.5%.

Hampstead, MD-based men’s apparel cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers registered a 17.4% increase in combined catalog and Internet sales for August. Total August sales climbed 4.6%, to $29.6 million.

At women’s apparel merchant Victoria’s Secret Direct, combined Internet and catalog sales for August rose 17%. Parent company Limited Brands reported an 11% increase in overall August sales, to $638.8 million. In addition to Victoria’s Secret, Limited Brands includes the Express and Bath & Body Work retail chains.

Year-over-year sales at San Francisco-based electronic gifts merchant Sharper Image fell 13%, to $32.5 million from $37.5 million the previous August. Catalog/direct marketing sales (including wholesale) increased 5%, to $8.5 million compared to $8.1 million a year ago; Internet sales decreased 10%, to $5.0 million from $5.6 million for the month ended Aug. 31.

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August Sales Roundup

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?
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Explore how consolidating multiple systems through a cloud-based commerce platform provides a seamless experience for both you, and your customer.
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August Sales Roundup

Improved catalog sales in the month of August for the publicly traded cataloger/retailers give cause for cautious optimism as consumer marketers gear up for the all-important fourth quarter.

For example, combined catalog and Internet sales increased 35% at Hampstead, MD-based cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (NasdaqNM: JOSB). The men’s apparel marketer said that total company sales for the month increased 25%, to $21.8 million from $17.4 million for August 2003. Comparable store sales increased 6%.

Direct marketing sales at San Francisco-based gadgets marketer Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) rose 19%, to $11.1 million for the month ended Aug. 31, compared with $9.4 million the previous August. Internet sales increased 35%, to $6.2 million. Total sales for the month increased 16%, to $43.3 million from $37.2 million last year. But comparable store sales fell 6%.

August revenue at the direct division of upscale apparel and décor retailer Neiman Marcus (NYSE: NMG.A) increased 3%. The flagship Neiman Marcus brand experienced the highest year-over-year sales performance; the other catalog brands are Horchow and Chef’s Catalog. Total August revenue at Neiman Marcus rose 15%, to $240 million.

Catalog/Internet sales at Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) increased 6%, to $194 million for the four weeks ended Aug. 28, compared with $183 million the previous August. The company says that catalog/Internet sales showed strong results from its Fall/Winter Big Book as well as Internet sales, which rose more than 35%. Total company revenue for the month increased 4%, to $1.54 billion. Penney projects September sales for both department stores and its catalog/Internet business to increase in the low-single digits.

August sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct, part of Columbus, OH-based apparel retailer Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD), rose 9% exceeding company expectations. Total company sales for the month were $577.8 million, compared with $575.7 million for August 2003.

But August sales at Hingham, MA-based apparel marketer The Talbots (NYSE: TLB), decreased 1%, to $86.8 million. Comparable store sales fell 5% for the month, as expected. Talbots does not break out monthly catalog sales figures.

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The Gift of Wow: Preparing your store for the holiday season - Netsuite
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Explore the 3 critical components to delivering the perfect order.
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Explore how consolidating multiple systems through a cloud-based commerce platform provides a seamless experience for both you, and your customer.
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August Sales Roundup

If August sales are any indication, most of the publicly traded mailers tracked by CATALOG AGE are in for a strong second half of the year.

Total August revenue at upscale Dallas-based cataloger/retailer Neiman Marcus Group (NYSE: NMG.A) increased 10%, to $209 million, from $190 million last year. At Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes the Horchow, Neiman Marcus, and Chef’s Catalog titles, revenue increased 16%.

At Hampstead, MD-based men’s apparel cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (NasdaqNM:JOSB), August sales increased 22% to a record $17.4 million from $14.3 million last August. Combined catalog and Internet sales increased 16%. Comparable store sales rose 9%.

Plano, TX-based cataloger/retailer J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) said that comparable department store sales increased 7%, to $1.3 billion. Combined catalog and Internet sales decreased 2%, to $183 million from $187 million the previous August. But Penney says the decline was expected, the result of fewer planned promotional events and less clearance merchandise. Internet sales increased about 40% for the August. In a release, the company says sales benefited from a “positive response” to back-to-school merchandise.

Columbus, OH-based apparel cataloger/retailer Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD), whose brands include Victoria’s Secret, says that August’s comparable store sales fell 2%. Total net sales for the month also fell slightly, to $575.7 million from $577.8 million last year. At Victoria’s Secret Direct, however, August sales increased 3%, exceeding company expectations.

Though total August sales at San Francisco-based gadgets cataloger Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) increased 11%, to $38.2 million, catalog sales plummeted 14% to $9.8 million from the last August’s $11.4 million. Internet sales jumped 30%, however, to $4.7 million from $3.6 million. Total store sales increased 21%, to $23.7 million, while comparable store sales increased 9%.

A few companies posted sales declines for the month. At Hingham, MA-based apparel cataloger/retailer The Talbots (NYSE: TLB), August sales decreased 2% to $87.8 million from $90.0 million last year. Talbots does not release catalog sales data on a monthly basis. Comparable store sales decreased 9% for the month, driven by 20% less clearance inventory per square foot in the women’s business.

Finally, Downers Grove, IL-based Spiegel Group, which mails the Eddie Bauer, Newport News, and Spiegel catalogs, suffered a 30% tumble in net sales, to $104.4 million for the four weeks ended Aug. 23, compared with $149.6 million ifor fiscal August 2002. Catalog and e-commerce sales decreased 42%.

Partner Content

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