May Sales Figures Give Multichannel Merchants Hope

Sales in May for our multichannel merchants were, for the most part, promising, though the list of merchants we track shrank because Sharper Image Corp. and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers don’t report monthly sales anymore.

May sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct rose 9%, driven by swimwear and dresses. But parent company Limited Brands reported a 6% decline in overall May sales, slipping to $661.3 million from $774.7 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 3.6% rise in May 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.

May sales at apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch increased 8%, to $233.1 million, compared with $215.0 million in May 2007. The company’s total direct-to-consumer sales shot up 35%, to $17.3 million.

For the record, J.C. Penney Co. no longer reports its direct sales for the month. (But the retailer saw its total May revenue slip 2.4%, to $1.34 billion, compared to $1.37 billion in May 2007.)