January Sales Roundup

The start of 2010 was fairly inspiring for the companies tracked by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT. Perhaps it’s a sign of better things ahead.

Total January sales for apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch jumped 16%, to $222.8 million, compared to $191.5 million in January 2009. What’s more, direct-to-consumer sales increased 8%, to $28.0 million. January same-store sales rose 8%.

Neiman Marcus Direct’s sales for January increased 16%. 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 apparel, jewelry, handbags, shoes and men’s products.

Meanwhile, January sales at women’s apparel marketer Victoria’s Secret Direct increased 3%. Top selling merchandise categories includes sweaters, dresses, bras and swimwear.

On the downside, total January company sales for general merchant J.C. Penney Co. fell 4.4%, to $940 million.

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January Sales Roundup

If January sales reports are any indication, 2008 is off to a slow start. Most of the publicly traded companies tracked by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT struggled to increase sales—particularly in their direct businesses.

January direct sales for J.C. Penney Co. increased 3.6% on a comparable four-week basis. But if you include last year’s 53rd week, the general merchant’s direct sales decreased 17.7%, to $200 million, compared to $243 million for last year’s five-week January period. Internet sales rose 19.1%, which was above company expectations.

Dallas-based luxury merchant Neiman Marcus Group reported a slight decrease – 0.5% — in January 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. But total January revenue for the cataloger/retailer increased 5.6%, to $290 million.

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers is usually a solid performer, but not this month. The Hampstead, MD-based merchant’s sales for January sank 17.1%, to $34.3 million, compared with $41.4 million last year. What’s more, direct sales for the menswear cataloger/retailer plummeted 18.6%. Same-store sales fell 1.2%.

January sales for Victoria’s Secret Direct fell 27% due to the extra week in last year’s result, according to Amie Preston, vice president of investor relations for Columbus, OH-based parent company Limited Brands. On a comparable four-week basis, sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct decreased 8%. Preston said the company is making progress addressing operational issues with its new direct distribution center. Problems at the DC have affected the merchant’s sales since the facility opened last August.

New Albany, OH-based apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch saw its January sales drop 13%, to $219.7 million, compared with $252.3 million for the five-week month last year. Same-store sales for the month were flat. But A&F’s direct business were through the roof: Total direct-to-consumer sales rose 33%, to $24.4 million for the four-week period compared to last year’s five-week period.

And it was business as usual for San Francisco-based Sharper Image Corp.: More sales decreases. Total company sales in January for the electronic gifts merchant sunk 23%, to $22.2 million, compared to $28.7 million in January 2007. Same-store sales were down 11%. The company did not break out specific figures for catalog/direct marketing (including wholesale) and Internet sales.

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January Sales Roundup

January brought a mixed bag of financial results for the publicly traded companies tracked by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT.

Web and catalog sales for women’s apparel merchant Victoria’s Secret Direct rose 9%, in line with company expectations. Columbus, OH-based parent company Limited Brands reported a 30% increase in overall January sales, to $1.06 billion from $813.4 million in 2006. Same-store sales increased 11%. In addition to Victoria’s Secret, Limited Brands includes the Express and Bath & Body Work retail chains.

January direct sales for Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. dipped 1.5%, which was also in line with company guidance. Total direct sales for the five weeks ended Feb. 3 were $243 million. But Internet sales fared quite well, rising 23.5% on top of last year’s 28% rise. Penney’s department-store sales increased 28%, to $1.15 billion, while same-store sales were up nearly 4%. The company’s total sales for the five-week period climbed 28%, to $1.39 billion.

And the beat goes on at San Francisco-based Sharper Image Corp. January sales at the electronic gifts merchant sunk 29%, to $29.0 million from $40.7 million last year. Catalog/direct marketing sales (including wholesale) plummeted 44%, to $4.5 million from $8.1 million. Internet sales didn’t fare well either, backpedaling 26%, to $6.7 million from $9.1 million. Same-store sales tumbled 25%.

Hampstead, MD-based Jos. A. Bank Clothiers had a solid month. The menswear cataloger/retailer posted a 42% rise in combined catalog and Internet sales for January. Total January sales increased 35%, to $41.5 million from $30.8 million last year. But same-store sales decreased 5%.

According to a preliminary financial report, January net sales for Bohemia, NY-based supplements manufacturer/marketer NBTY increased 5%, to $168 million from $160 million last year. But revenue from the company’s direct response division, which includes the Puritan’s Pride catalog, fell 22%, to $18 million.

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January Sales Roundup

The first month of 2006—which was also the last month of fiscal 2005 for many consumer merchants–was mostly positive sales-wise for the publicly traded cataloger/retailers tracked by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT.

At Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes the Horchow décor catalog as well as the Neiman Marcus apparel and home furnishings titles, year-over-year January sales decreased 3%. The upscale merchant attributed the dip to a shift of some catalog mailings to December from January. But overall growth for Dallas-based parent Neiman Marcus Group (NYSE: NMG.A) increased a little more than 7%. Total sales were $253 million for the month ended Jan. 28.

January sales at Columbus, OH-based Victoria’s Secret Direct soared 19%, exceeding expectations. Parent company Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD) reported a 4% increase in net sales, to $783 million.

January net sales at apparel cataloger/retailer The Talbots (NYSE: TLB) increased 4%, to $132.1 million for the four weeks ended Jan. 28. Comparable store sales increased nearly 1%. The Hingham, MA-based merchant does not break out monthly catalog sales data.

Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP) posted a 4% rise in direct sales, exceeding expectations of flat sales. Direct sales totaled $196 million for the month ended Jan. 28, compared with $188 million for January 2005. Online sales increased in the “low double digits,” according to a statement. Comparable department store sales increased 3%, to $898 million. Total company sales also rose 3%, to just under $1.1 billion.

Year-over-year sales at San Francisco-based Sharper Image Corp. (NasdaqNM: SHRP) continue to plummet. Net revenue at the electronics cataloger/retailer fell 20%, to $39.2 million for the month ended Jan. 31. Direct marketing sales (including wholesale) fell 36%, to $7.5 million; Web sales tumbled 20%, to $7.8 million.

Although net sales for Hampstead, MD-based Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (NasdaqNM: JOSB) increased 29%, to $30.8 million for the month ended Jan. 28, its combined catalog and Internet sales fell nearly 3%. “The Internet had a healthy increase,” says executive vice president/chief financial officer David Ullman. “It was the catalog orders, which primarily are clearance items. With the good weather we had in January, we think the customers didn’t shop through the catalog and were able to get out. The great part of being a multichannel retailer is it’s always great if customers can get to your store.”

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January Sales Roundup

Most of publicly traded merchants tracked by CATALOG AGE began the new year on solid footing sales-wise.

For example, total January revenue at Dallas-based upscale cataloger/retailer Neiman Marcus group (NYSE: NMG.A) increased 10%, to $236 million from $214 million for January 2004. Within Neiman Marcus Direct, which encompasses the Neiman Marcus and Horchow titles, January sales rose 18%.

Neighboring general merchandise giant, Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP), reported a 13% hike in January catalog/Internet sales, exceeding expectations. Internet sales increased nearly 45%. Total company sales reached $1.06 billion for the four-week fiscal January 2005, down from $1.2 billion for the five-week fiscal January 2004.

Hingham, MA-based apparel cataloger/retailer The Talbots (NYSE: TLB) reported a 22% jump in January revenue, to $128.4 million for the four weeks ended Jan. 29, compared with $105.4 million for January 2004.

But San Francisco-based high-tech gifts merchant Sharper Image Corp. (Nasdaq: SHRP) zagged where others zigged. Its January direct marketing sales (including wholesale) plummeted 29%, to $9.2 million from the previous January’s $12.9 million. Total January revenue fell 4%, to $45.3 million, and comparable store sales decreased 9%.

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January Sales Roundup

Most of the publicly traded catalogers tracked by CATALOG AGE kicked off 2004 with strong January sales.

At Corte Madera, CA-based Restoration Hardware (Nasdaq: RSTO), for instance, January catalog and Internet sales skyrocketed 88%. Comparable-store sales increased 23%. For the fiscal fourth quarter, ended Jan. 31, direct sales were $27 million, up 50% from $18 million the previous fourth quarter. Total fourth-quarter sales rose 6%, while comparable-store sales rose 0.7%.

San Francisco-based cataloger/retailer Sharper Image Corp. (Nasdaq: SHRP) reported a 40% jump in total January sales, to $47.3 million. Catalog sales rose 33%, to $12.9 million; Web sales shot up 51%, to $9.1 million. Comp-store sales grew 21%. For the fourth quarter, total sales for the marketer of high-tech gadgets increased 29%, to $270.2 million. Catalog sales rose 14%, to $54.9 million, while Web sales increased 34%, to $43.6 million.

January direct sales at Dallas-based Neiman Marcus Group (NYSE: NMG.A), which mails the Chef’s Catalog, Horchow, Neiman Marcus titles, rose 21%. Total revenue at the upscale apparel and home décor cataloger/retailer increased 15%, to $216 million from $187 million last year.

Discounting the extra week in its fiscal January this year, catalog/Internet sales at Plano, TX-based general merchandiser J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE:JCP) rose 10%, to $214 million, exceeding expectations. Internet sales skyrocketed roughly 50%. Comp-store sales (excluding those of Penney’s Eckerd drugstore chain, which the company is hoping to sell) increased 6%. Total fourth-quarter sales rose 2% (excluding the extra week) or 7% (including the extra week).

Hampstead, MD-based cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (NasdaqNM: JOSB) benefited from the unseasonably cold weather in much of the country. Total January sales for men’s apparel marketer were up 36% from last year, to a record $21.0 million. Combined catalog and Internet sales increased 28%, while comp-store sales increased 16%. Sales for the fiscal fourth quarter set another record: $100.9 million, up 30% from the previous fourth quarter. Direct sales rose 16%, while comp-store sales increased 11%.

Columbus, OH-based Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD) which includes the Express retail chain and cataloger/retailer Victoria’s Secret, reported a comparable-store sales increase of 23% for January.Sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct increased 5% for the month.

The news wasn’t so good for Hingham, MA-based The Talbots (NYSE:TLB). January sales for the apparel cataloger/retailer fell 5%. Comparable-store sales decreased 12%. Talbots does not break out monthly direct sales data.

And at Downers Grove, IL-based general merchandiser The Spiegel Group, January net sales were down 27%. Catalog and Web sales for the parent company of Eddie Bauer and Newport News fell 28%. Comparable-store sales at Eddie Bauer fell 7%.

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January sales roundup

The calendar may have changed but the results are the same for many of the publicly traded catalogers tracked by CATALOG AGE. For instance, San Francisco-based high-tech gadgets cataloger/retailer The Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) continues to crank out strong numbers due to the popularity of its proprietary product. Total January sales increased 42%, to $34.7 million from last January’s $24.7 million. Catalog sales increased 16%, to $10.3 million from $8.9 million. Comparable store sales increased 37%. Internet sales, including auction sales, increased 64%, to $6.1 million from $3.7 million.

Likewise, at cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothier (Nasdaq: JOSB), sales for the month ended Feb. 1 were $15.4 million, up 20% from $12.8 million for January 2001. Combined catalog and Internet sales at the Hampstead, MD-based men’s apparel marketer increased 8%. Comparable store sales increased 10%.

Dallas-based Neiman Marcus Group (NYSE: NMG.A) posted a 5% increase in January revenue, to $188 million from $179 million last year. Sales at Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes the Horchow home décor title and the Chef’s Catalog book of kitchenware, increased 27%. The upscale marketer attributes the dramatic increase to a shift in the fiscal calendar: The week following Christmas, which is historically a slow period for the direct business, was included in the previous fiscal month this year. Among its catalog brands, the Neiman Marcus title experienced the highest year-over-year sales performance, supported by strong sales in linens, women’s contemporary sportswear and dresses, and ladies’ shoes.

Sales at Hingham, MA-based apparel cataloger/retailer The Talbots (NYSE: TLB) rose 4%, to $111.2 million from $107.3 million the previous January. “January is historically a sale month and our better-than-expected comparable store sales performance was driven by the strong selling of our clearance merchandise,” chairman/president/CEO Arnold Zetcher said in a statement. “Our catalog sales also came in ahead of plan for the period.” Comparable store sales decreased 3% for the month.

Among the marketers suffering the equivalent of a hangover is New York-based apparel cataloger/retailer J. Crew. Its January revenue fell 6%, to $33.7 million from $35.9 million last year. Net sales for the direct division, which includes catalogs, decreased 5% from last year. Worse, comparable store sales declined 19%.

January sales at general merchandiser J.C. Penney slid 3%, to $2.07 billion from $2.13 billion last year. Direct sales at the Plano, TX-based marketer tumbled 28%, to $153 million from $212 million, but the company said the decline was within expectations.

Finally, there’s poor Spiegel Group (OTC-SPGLA), the parent of Eddie Bauer, Newport News and Spiegel catalogs. Talk about the winter of their discontent: The Downers Grove, IL-based company posted a 16% decrease in January sales, to $135.8 million from $162.6 million last year. Total direct sales decreased 26%, due to a planned reduction in catalog circulation and lower customer response.

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January sales roundup

With the exception of Hingham, MA-based The Talbots and Hampstead, MD-based Jos. A. Bank, the catalogers that have reported their January direct sales have seen them decline since last year.

At Downers Grove, IL-based The Spiegel Group (NYSE: SPGLA), which mails the Eddie Bauer, Newport News, and Spiegel catalogs, sales for the four weeks ended Jan. 26 were $162.7 million, down 8% from $176.8 million for January 2001. Sales results by division include a 7% decline at Eddie Bauer, an 8% drop at Newport News, and 11% decrease at Spiegel.

Though slow sales seem like the least of its problems these days, Cincinnati-based Federated Department Stores (NYSE: FD), which is trying to divest its Fingerhut catalog business, said total January sales were $827 million for the four weeks ended Feb. 2, to $827 million, down 25% from $1.11 billion a year earlier. January sales at Fingerhut fell 39%, to $53 million from $87 million. Department store sales fell 24%, to $774 million from $1.02 billion.

Plano, TX-based cataloger/retailer J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) reported a 24% drop in January catalog sales, to $212 million from $280 million last year. E-commerce sales, which are included in catalog sales, totaled $21 million, down from $23 million the previous January. Still, Penney managed to increase total sales, which includes its department stores and Eckard drugstore chain, to $2.14 billion from $2.11 billion.

At New York-based apparel cataloger/retailer J. Crew Group, net sales for its direct division fell 13%, to $13.3 million from $18.9 million for January 2001. Catalog sales skidded to $5.9 million from $10.7 million. The drop in Internet sales was less dramatic: to $7.4 million from $8.2 million. Overall January sales fell from $52.6 million to $35.9 million.

On a brighter note, apparel cataloger/retailer The Talbots (NYSE: TLB) said total company sales for the four weeks ended Feb. 2 were $107.3 million, up 9% from $98.5 million for January 2001. Comparable store sales increased 8% for the month. And men’s clothier Jos. A. Bank (Nasdaq: JOSB) said total January sales were $12.8 million, compared with $12.7 million for the comparable four weeks of 2001. But combined catalog and Web sales increased 32% for the month. Comparable store sales decreased 9%.

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