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A Blizzard of Declines: Weather, War Worries Sink February Comps

February same-store sales came in below plan and, thanks to inclement weather for much of the month, below year-ago levels, too.

Insulated from most of the snow, Dillard’s Inc.’s comps ran countertrend and rose 3 percent for the month. Saks Inc.’s department store division also comped up, rising 1.2 percent. The firm’s luxury Saks Fifth Avenue unit, though, comped down 11.4 percent. Overall, Saks’ comps fell 4.1 percent.

Elsewhere in the luxe world, same-store sales at The Neiman Marcus Group rose 2.5 percent, while Nordstrom Inc. comped down 2.3 percent.



MASS MERCHANTS

With its broad geographic base, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. managed to weather the storm better than many other retailers.

Comparable-store sales for the firm’s flagship division and the U.S. overall rose 2.6 percent. Initially, the Wal-Mart division was looking for comps to rise by 3 to 5 percent. At Wal-Mart, average ticket increases drove the comps, as traffic was flat.

Because of the shift of Easter to April this year, versus March last year, the firm is looking for a low-single-digit increase in its U.S. comps this month, and a high-single-digit rise next month.

Target Corp.’s same-store sales overall fell 1.4 percent in February, while its discount stores comped down 0.5 percent. The initial plan for the discount stores was for a flat to up 2 percent showing.

In March, the firm is expecting comps at its discount stores to come in flat to down 2 percent. In March and April together, though, division’s same-store sales should rise 1 to 3 percent.

Other value-orientated retailers, even those that were spared by the Presidents’ Day snowstorm, failed to finish February with increases. Among the same-store sales decliners were Value City Department Stores Inc. (down 12.1 percent), Stein Mart Inc. (10 percent), TJX Cos. Inc. (5 percent), Ross Stores Inc. (3 percent) and ShopKo Stores Inc. (1.2 percent).
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