As catalogers contemplate an uncertain fall/holiday season, many publicly traded marketers started on the right foot by posting solid September sales.
High-end apparel cataloger/retailer Neiman Marcus Group (NYSE: NMG.A), which mails the Chef’s Catalog, Horchow, and Neiman Marcus titles, was one cataloger that had cause to celebrate. Total September revenue for the Dallas-based company increased 20%, to $298 million for the five weeks ended Oct. 5. Last year, sales at Neiman Marcus totaled $248 million. Comparable revenue at Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes the catalogs and Internet sales, increased 32%.
Meanwhile, men’s apparel cataloger/retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothier (NasdaqNM: JOSB) posted a 17% increase in September sales, to $21.5 million for the period ended Oct. 5. Combined catalog and Web sales increased 19%. Comparable store sales increased 9%.
High-tech gadgets marketer Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) said September sales soared 47%, to $31.3 million from last September’s $21.4 million. Total store sales for the San Francisco-based company increased 50%, to $17.7 million; comparable store sales increased 37%. Catalog sales increased 48%, to $9.8 million from last September’s $6.6 million. Internet sales, including auction sales, increased 29%, to $3.9 million from last September’s $3.0 million.
Columbus, OH-based Limited Brands, (NYSE: LTD), which includes women’a apparel cataloger/retailer Victoria’s Secret, reported an 8% hike in company sales for September, to $724.6 million. Sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct rose 15%, while the brand’s retail sales increased 15%.
Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), which includes Marshall Field’s and Mervyn’s as well as Target, reported that net retail sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 5 increased 7%, to nearly $3.51 billion. Sales for Target’s catalog titles, which include Wireless, Seasons, and Signals, and Websites rose 34%, to $55 million.
But not every marketer closed September on a high note. Hingham, MA-based women’s apparel marketer The Talbots (NYSE: TLB) saw sales rise just 1%, to $176.6 million. Comparable store sales decreased a disappointing 6%.
Troubled Downers Grove, IL-based Spiegel Group (OTC Pink Sheets: SPGLA), which includes apparel cataloger/retailer Eddie Bauer, suffered a 19% decline in sales, to $183.6 million for the five weeks ended Sept. 28. Total direct sales declined 23%, though Web sales rose 5%. Eddie Bauer sales fell 12%, sales at apparel and home décor catalog division Newport News fell 31%, and Spiegel Catalog sales tumbled 25%. The sales results for Spiegel and Newport News, however, reflect a “significant” reduction in catalog circulation, according to a statement. Spiegel also said sales declined from more-restrictive credit policies implemented in the company’s private-label credit-card business.
Another general merchandiser, Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Corp. (NYSE: JCP), also saw catalog sales slide. For the five weeks ended Sept. 28, catalog revenue was $217 million, down 17% from last September. But the cataloger/retailer noted that this was less of a decline than expected, thanks to a good early response to the gift assortment in the Christmas catalog. Total company sales fell 0.1% to $2.83 billion.
And New York-based apparel cataloger/retailer J. Crew Group saw September sales decline nearly 11%, to $59.1 million. Catalog and Internet sales fell 16%, while comparable store sales tumbled 20%.