November Sales Roundup

Monthly sales for the companies tracked by Multichannel Merchant have continued to mirror the disastrous national economy. And November was no exception.

First off, total November sales for apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch plunged 24%, to $267.3 million, compared to $352.3 million in November 2007. What’s more, direct-to-consumer sales plummeted 28%, to $23.7 million.

J.C. Penney Co. no longer reports its direct sales results for the month, but the general merchant saw same-store sales slip 11.9%. Total company sales in November decreased 11.5%, to $1.81 billion, down from $2.05 billion for November 2007.

Luxury marketers are feeling the pinch as well. At Neiman Marcus Direct, October sales for the high-end retailer’s direct unit decreased 12.3%. The division consists of the print catalog and online operations for Neiman Marcus and Horchow, as well as the Bergdorf Goodman Website.

Meanwhile, November sales at women’s apparel marketer Victoria’s Secret Direct sank 15%, below company expectations. In addition to the down economy, the company blames changes in catalog circulation amounts and timing, as well as the shift of Cyber Monday into December this year vs. November in 2007.

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November Sales Roundup

Generally speaking, November sales were solid for the publicly traded companies tracked by Multichannel Merchant. But a few fiscal mishaps during the month plagued a couple of companies.

November direct sales for J.C. Penney Co. rose 17.6%, to $341 million, compared with $290 million in November 2006 – well above guidance for a mid-single digit increase. Internet sales for the Plano, TX-based general merchant soared 41.2%. Total company sales increased 7.6%, to $2.05 billion, up from $1.53 billion last year. Same-store sales increased 2.6%, below guidance in the 3.8% range. Company officials said customer response to enhanced promotional programs drove direct sales results, particularly among gift items, sleepwear, and jewelry.

Meanwhile, Dallas-based luxury merchant Neiman Marcus Group reported a 4.3% rise in November 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 November revenue for the cataloger/retailer increased nearly 9%, to $360 million.

October was another strong month for Hampstead, MD-based Jos. A. Bank Clothiers. The merchant’s sales for the month rose 24.7%, to $63.1 million, up from $50.6 million in November 2006. Direct sales for the menswear cataloger/retailer skyrocketed 41.4%, while same-store sales rose increased 15%.

Sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct continue to suffer from ongoing 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 November sales for Victoria’s Secret Direct increased 7%, but that was due to the extra pre-holiday week compared to last year. On a calendar basis, she said sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct sunk 6%, citing “operational challenges” in the new DC; she added that there have been no significant changes in the status of facility since the third quarter conference call last month.

San Francisco-based Sharper Image Corp endured another difficult month. Total company sales in November for the struggling electronic gifts merchant sunk 9%, to $44.7 million, compared to $49.0 million in November 2006. Same-store sales decreased 8%. The company did not break out specific figures for catalog/direct marketing (including wholesale) and Internet sales.

November sales at New Albany, OH-based apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch rose 25%, to $352.3 million, compared with $282.9 million in November 2006. Same-store sales for the month increased 2%, and Web sales shot up 78%, to $32.8 million.

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November Sales Roundup

With Christmas just around the corner, most of the six publicly traded companies tracked by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT performed well in November. But more bad news shadowed Sharper Image Corp., while sales at Neiman Marcus Direct took a step back.

Hampstead, MD-based men’s apparel cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers posted a robust 24% increase in combined catalog and Internet sales for November. Total November sales soared 21%, to $50.6 million from $41.9 million last year. Comparable-store sales checked in with a nearly 10% increase.

At Victoria’s Secret Direct, combined Internet and catalog sales for November rose 15%, exceeding company expectations. Columbus, OH-based parent company Limited Brands reported a 15% increase in overall November sales, to $937.7 million from $817.7 million last year. Comparable-store sales increased 12%. In addition to women’s apparel cataloger/retailer Victoria’s Secret, Limited Brands includes the Express and Bath & Body Work retail chains.

November sales at New Albany, OH-based apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch rose 13%, to $282.9 million for the period ended Nov. 25, compared with $251.2 million for the same month last year. Comparable-store sales for the month decreased 5%, but Web sales increased 45%, to $18.4 million.

November direct sales for Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. dipped 0.3%, which was below the company’s initial guidance of a single-digit increase following a 2.5% increase last year. Total direct sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 25 were $290 million. Internet sales, however, rose 17.5%, on top of last year’s 23% rise. Department store sales increased 3%, to $1.61 billion, with comparable-store sales up 1.4%. Total company sales climbed nearly 3%%, to $1.90 billion.

At Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes the upscale Horchow and Neiman Marcus catalogs, November sales decreased 2.4%. Dallas-based parent company Neiman Marcus Group nonetheless boasted a 5% jump in total November revenue, to $332 million for the four weeks ended Nov. 25.

November sales at San Francisco-based electronic gifts merchant Sharper Image sunk 27%, to $46.8 million from $64.5 million last year. For the month ended Nov. 30, catalog/direct marketing sales (including wholesale) were $8.3 million, down 32% from $12.3 million the previous November. Internet sales took a hit as well, falling 29%, to $8.5 million. No good news could be salvaged for the month, as comparable-store sales tumbled 27%.

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November Sales Roundup

Last month direct sales growth outpaced overall revenue growth for most of the publicly traded cataloger/retailers tracked by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT.

For example, at Hampstead, MD-based Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (Nasdaq NM: JOSB) combined catalog and Internet sales channel increased 24%. Total November sales at the men’s apparel merchant increased 16% to $41.9 million for the month ended Nov. 26.

At upscale apparel and décor merchant Neiman Marcus Direct, November sales increased 8%, compared with 7% growth overall for the Dallas-based Neiman Marcus Group (NYSE: NMG.A). Total sales were $328 million for the month.

November sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct increased 6%. Parent company Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD) reported a 7% increase in net sales, to $817.7 million.

November net sales at apparel merchant The Talbots (NYSE: TLB) increased 3%, to $131.3 million the four weeks ended Nov. 26. Comparable store sales also increased 3% for the month. The Hingham, MA-based cataloger/retailer does not break out monthly catalog sales data.

Plano, TX-based J. C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP) posted a 3% rise in direct sales. Sales for jcpenney.com, however, increased 23%. Comparable department store sales increased 4%, as did total company sales, to $1.9 billion for the four weeks ended Nov. 26.

Year-over-year sales at San Francisco-based Sharper Image Corp. (NasdaqNM: SHRP) continue to plummet. Net sales at the electronics cataloger/retailer fell 24%, to $60.0 million for the month ended Nov. 30. November direct marketing sales (including wholesale) fell 50%, to $10.8 million; Internet sales tumbled 26%, to $10.4 million.

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November Sales Roundup

The publicly traded multichannel merchants tracked by CATALOG AGE got their first taste of Christmas during the November sales period. Though the direct units for the most part performed admirably, retail performance was another matter.

San Francisco-based gadgets marketer Sharper Image is a case in point. Total November sales increased 17%, to $78.9 million from $67.3 million in November 2003. Direct sales rose 19%, to $21.5 million. Internet sales increased 30%, to $14.1 million. But while total store sales increased 13%, to $43.3 million, comparable store sales fell 3%.

Net November sales for Columbus, OH-based apparel cataloger/retailer Limited Brands fell 3%, to $762.7 million for the four weeks ended Nov. 27. The parent company of the Express retail chain and cataloger/retailer Victoria’s Secret said that promotional items, such as its Holiday Bag and Lip Kit gift, did not drive sufficient traffic into the stores over the Thanksgiving weekend. Still, combined catalog and Internet sales at Victoria’s Secret increased 5%.

Another apparel cataloger/retailer, Hingham, MA-based The Talbots, saw total November revenue increase 4%, to $130.5 million for the four weeks ended Nov. 27. Comparable store sales decreased 0.5% for the month. Talbots does not break out monthly catalog sales. The company says sales trends at the beginning of the month were soft, due to the later-than-usual start of a best-customer event, but subsequently picked up, with “strong” sales over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Combined catalog and Internet sales increased 17% at Hampstead, MD-based men’s apparel merchant Jos. A. Bank Clothiers. Total sales increased 22%, to $36.1 million. Comparable store sales increased 8%.

November revenue at upscale apparel and décor cataloger/retailer Neiman Marcus rose 5%, to $308 million. Sales within the Dallas-based company’s direct division, which includes the Horchow home furnishings catalog as well as the namesake catalog, increased 17%.

Although combined catalog/Internet sales at Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. fell 4% for the month, the general merchant enjoyed a 12% increase in comparable store sales. The company says that results reflected record sales for the two days following Thanksgiving, driven by strong promotional programs. Total November sales rose 9%, to $1.83 billion.

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November Sales Roundup

Most of the publicly traded marketers tracked by CATALOG AGE have reason for good cheer: They reported solid gains in November sales.

For instance, a 14% rise in combined catalog and Internet sales pushed Hampstead, MD-based men’s apparel cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (NasdaqNM: JOSB) to new heights. Total company sales increased 19%, to a record $29.6 million for the month ended Nov. 29, compared with $24.8 million for the previous November. Comparable-store sales increased 3%. In a release, the company noted that mid-November sales were sluggish, because of warmer-than-usual weather, but strengthened as the weather turned colder during the last week of November.

Total company sales at Plano, TX-based cataloger/retailer J.C. PenneyCo. (NYSE: JCP) inched up 0.3%, to $2.82 billion for the month ended Nov. 22, compared with $2.81 billion for November 2002. But catalog/Internet sales increased 12%, to $296 million, well above expectations. Internet sales increased 45% for the month. Comparable-store sales decreased 0.8%.

November sales at Sharper Image Corp. (Nasdaq: SHRP) increased 22%, to $69.2 million for the month ended Nov. 30, compared with last November’s $56.8 million. Catalog sales for the San Francisco-based gadgets marketer increased 18%, to $19.0 million from $16.1 million. Internet sales increased 24%, to $11.1 million from ,$8.9 million. Total store sales increased 23%, to $39.2 million; comparable-store sales increased 8%.

Dallas-based Neiman Marcus Group (NYSE: NMG.A), which mails the Horchow, Neiman Marcus, and Chef’s Catalog titles, reported a 6% increase in total November revenue, to $295 million for the month ended Nov. 29, compared with $278 million last year. Catalog and Internet sales increased 7%.

New York-based Bluefly (Nasdaq SmallCap: BFLY), an online-only marketer of discounted designer apparel and home accessories, enjoyed a 16% hike in November sales, to $3.6 million from $3.1 million last year.

Finally, there’s Downers Grove, IL-based Spiegel Group, the parent of the Eddie Bauer, Newport News, and Spiegel catalogs. The bankrupt marketer saw November sales fall 25%, to $195.4 million for the five weeks ended Nov. 29. Catalog and e-commerce sales plunged 35%, due to lower customer demand and decreased circulation. Sales from the company’s retail and outlet stores decreased 14% for the month, primarily as a result of store closings and the decline in Eddie Bauer’s comparable-store sales.

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November Sales Roundup

Most of the publicly-traded catalogers tracked by Catalog Age were thankful for decent November sales. Some catalogers gave thanks for an early blast of wintry weather along the East Coast, which bodes well for holiday sales of outdoor items. Total company sales at San Francisco-based gadgets marketer Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) jumped 33%, to $56.8 million for the period ended Nov. 30. Last year, sales totaled $42.9 million. Catalog sales increased 27%, to $16.1 million from last November’s $12.7 million. Internet sales, excluding auction sales, increased 57%; including auction sales, Internet sales increased 49% to $8.9 million from last November’s $6.0 million. Total store sales increased 31%, to $31.8 million from $24.2 million last year; comparable store sales increased 15%.

Hampstead, MD-based men’s apparel cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (Nasdaq NM: JOSB) reported that sales increased 12%, to $24.8 million for the month ended Nov. 30, compared with $22.2 million last year. Comparable store sales increased 3% in November while combined catalog and Internet sales increased 14%. New York-based Bluefly, (Nasdaq SmallCap: BFLY): The Internet apparel marketer said net sales for November increased 31%, to more than $3.1 million, from $2.4 million last year.

Fort Worth, TX-based home decor cataloger/retailer Bombay Company (NYSE: BBA) reported total revenue in November increased 22%, to $56.8 million, compared with $46.7 million last year. Nonstore activity, which includes catalogs and the Internet, amounted to 6% of total revenue for the period compared to 5% last year.

But for other marketers, November was lackluster—if not a downright turkey. Hingham, MA-based women’s apparel cataloger/retailer The Talbots, (NYSE: TLB) for instance, says sales were about even at $118.7 million, compared with $118.3 million for the four weeks ended Dec. 1. Comparable store sales decreased 3% for November. The catalog division of Plano, TX-based cataloger/retailer J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) continues to struggle: Catalog sales decreased 10%, to $265 million for the four weeks ended Nov. 23, compared with $295 million last year. Comparable department store sales were flat. The best performing categories for the month were jewelry, women’s apparel, and home products. Penney says Thanksgiving week sales falls in its December period this year.

Finally, sales continue to tumble at Downers Grove, IL-based Spiegel Group (OTC-SPGLA), which mails the Eddie Bauer, Newport News and Spiegel catalogs. For the four-week period ended Nov. 23, Spiegel Group posted a 23% sales decline to $195.3 million, compared with $255.2 million in sales last year. Total direct sales declined 24% while retail store sales fell 23% from last year.

Breaking it down by division: November sales fell 18% at Eddie Bauer, 22% at Newport News, and 37% at Spiegel Catalog. The Spiegel Group says results for Newport News and Spiegel Catalog reflect a significant reduction in catalog pages circulated as well as the continuing impact of the company’s more-restrictive credit granting measures with regard to its private-label credit.

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November sales roundup

For most marketers, November sales figures can be summed up in one word: Ouch. For instance, sales at Downers Grove, IL-based The Spiegel Group (Nasdaq: SPGLA), which mails the Eddie Bauer, Newport News, and Spiegel catalogs, fell 17%, to $255.2 million from $306.7 million the previous November. Catalog sales plunged 27%, while sales at the Eddie Bauer’s retail chain decreased 12%. Breaking it down by division, November sales at apparel marketer Eddie Bauer declined 15%, apparel cataloger Newport News saw sales fall 17%, and the Spiegel general merchandise catalog division suffered a 21% sales decline. About the only growth at Spiegel was within its Web business; revenue increased 15%.

Columbus, OH-based Intimate Brands (NYSE: IBI), parent company of women’s apparel cataloger/retailer Victoria’s Secret, reported that net sales for the four weeks ended Dec. 1 were $448.6 million, down 7% from $413.6 million for the comparable period of last year. Catalog sales fell 6%, but comparable store sales were up 9%, due to the televised Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Nonetheless, Intimate Brands—which also includes cataloger/retailer Bath and Body Works–said it remains comfortable with the current fourth-quarter consensus earnings estimate of $0.44.

Another women’s apparel cataloger/retailer reporting less-than-stellar November sales was Hingham, MA-based The Talbots (NYSE: TLB). Total company sales for the four weeks ended Dec. 1 were $118.3 million, down 9% from $129.6 million for November 2000. In a statement, chairman/president/CEO Arnold B. Zetcher said, “Our November comparable store sales were in line with our post-Sept. 11 expectations, decreasing 12% for the month vs, a very strong 21.9% increase last year.”

Plano, TX-based general merchandiser J. C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) also took it on the chin in November. The cataloger/retailer saw catalog and Web sales plummet 32%, to $295 million from $431 million a year ago, which Penney says reflects the elimination of catalog participation in retail promotional events. Total company sales decreased 3%, from $2.85 billion for the four weeks ended Nov. 24.

Looking on the brighter side of the situation, San Francisco-based The Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) reported an improvement in sales trends since Thanksgiving. Still, November sales for the gadgets marketer decreased 18%, to $42.9 million from $52.0 million last year. Catalog sales decreased 19%, to $12.7 million from $15.7 million. Websales slid 35%, to $6.0 million from $9.2 million, and comparable store sales tumbled 20%. “Despite the impact of last year’s Razor Scooter sales,” founder/chairman/CEO Richard Thalheimer said in a statement, “in early December we are seeing comparable store sales approaching last year’s level, which is encouraging both for the rest of the holiday period and next year.”

However, there were a few bright spots. Bargain shoppers apparently flocked to New York-based Bluefly (Nasdaq SmallCap: BFLY), which discounts apparel and gifts up to 75%. Bluefly posted a 33% rise in November sales, to about $2.4 million from $1.8 million last year.

Hampstead, MD-based men’s apparel cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (Nasdaq: JOSB) enjoyed a 7% rise in sales, to $22.2 million from $20.9 million a year ago. In fact, Bank expects fourth-quarter 2001 net income to be up at least 10% from last year’s, which would result in record earnings per share of at least $0.85 for fiscal year 2001. Bank’s catalog sales increased 4%, while its Web sales soared 95%. Comparable store sales decreased 6%.

And New York-based cataloger/retailer J. Crew benefited from a slight uptick in sales, to $86.2 million from $85.9 million last year. Net sales for the direct division decreased 14%, however.

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