Generally speaking, December sales for the publicly traded companies tracked by Multichannel Merchant were all over the place. As usual, the holiday season was merrier for some than for others.
December direct sales for J.C. Penney Co. sunk 12.9%, to $358 million, compared with $411 million in December 2006 – a bit above guidance for a decrease in the mid-teens range. What’s more, Internet sales for the Plano, TX-based general merchant decreased 5.1%. Total company sales fell 5.6%, to $3.17 billion, compared with $3.36 billion last year. Same-store sales decreased 7.5%. Company officials said sales across all channels were affected by the calendar shift resulting from last year’s 53rd week that moved a week of pre-holiday shopping into this year’s November reporting period.
Meanwhile, Dallas-based luxury merchant Neiman Marcus Group reported an 8.4% rise in December 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 December revenue for the cataloger/retailer increased nearly 5%, to $723 million.
December was another strong month for Hampstead, MD-based Jos. A. Bank Clothiers. The merchant’s sales for the month rose 9.3%, to $111.6 million, up from $102.1 million in December 2006. Direct sales for the menswear cataloger/retailer skyrocketed 14.3%, while same-store sales rose increased 2%.
Sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct continue to suffer from lingering problems associated with the new distribution center it opened in August. During a conference call Amie Preston, vice president of investor relations for Columbus, OH-based parent company Limited Brands, said December sales for Victoria’s Secret Direct fell 11% on a fiscal basis due to one less pre-holiday week versus last year. On a calendar basis, she said Victoria’s Secret Direct sales slipped 9% compared with 10% growth last year.
December sales at New Albany, OH-based apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch rose 9%, to $657.0 million, compared with $603.6 million in December 2006. Same-store sales for the month fell 2%. Total direct-to-consumer sales rose 35%, to $51.4 million.
San Francisco-based Sharper Image Corp endured another difficult month. Total company sales in December for the struggling electronic gifts merchant sunk 17%, to $97.2 million, compared to $117.5 million in December 2006. Same-store sales decreased 13%. The company did not break out specific figures for catalog/direct marketing (including wholesale) and Internet sales. “This holiday was a big test for our new management team and strategy,” CEO Steven A. Lightman said in a release. “Despite a highly competitive and promotional environment, we were pleased with our new product performance results in digital picture frames, portable navigation products, robotic toys and games, and wireless accessories.”