October Sales Roundup: More Bad News

For the companies tracked by Multichannel Merchant, monthly sales in continue to reflect the stagnant national economy. After a slow September, October wasn’t any better.

First off, total October sales for apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch fell 14%, to $215.0 million, compared to $251.1 million in October 2007. What’s more, direct-to-consumer sales tumbled 4%, to $17.7 million. To make matters worse, October same-store sales plummeted 20%.

J.C. Penney Co. no longer reports its direct sales results for the month, but the general merchant saw same-store sales slip 13%. Total sales in October decreased nearly 12%, to $1.36 billion, down from $1.54 billion for October 2007.

At Neiman Marcus Direct, October sales for the luxury retailer’s direct unit plunged 23%. The division consists of the print catalog and online operations for Neiman Marcus and Horchow, as well as the Bergdorf Goodman Website.

Meanwhile, October sales at women’s apparel marketer Victoria’s Secret Direct inched up 2%, which was significantly below expectations. Amie Preston, vice president of investor relations, said during a conference call that demand from customers as measured by orders received was down almost 20% from last year.

“The decrease in demand was driven by reduced catalog circulation, mechandise category softness, and not repeating last year’s special offer,” Preston said. The special offer was due to problems associated with the opening of a new distribution center in August 2007.

Victoria’s Secret Direct issued a $25 off apology offer rebounded in September to customers who were adversely affected by the DC woes; record-breaking redemptions of the offer helped boost October 2007 sales 5%.

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