Christmas 1994: The Race Is On

All signs point to a healthy holiday season.

"Thanksgiving is important but not nearly as important as the week before Christmas," said Myron Ullman, chairman and ceo of Macy's, which plans to do $400 million in volume that week, compared to $387 million last year. The R.H. Macy department store group was up 7 percent last week, slightly above the 5 to 6 percent planned for Christmas season, Ullman said. He declined to specify Friday's and Saturday's figures, but he said they fell in line with the week's, and some promotional activity was shifted earlier in the week from a year ago.

Ullman said Macy's best performing areas last week were men's wear, up 14 percent; cosmetics, up 8 percent; fine jewelry, 11 percent; coats 20 percent. Sportswear was up 6 percent, with wool and cashmere sweaters, flannel shirts and sleepwear particularly strong. Christmas trim and housewares had strong starts for the season. However, lingerie, shoes, juniors, domestics and floor coverings were weak.

Macy's West was about as strong as Macy's East, with business in Los Angeles stronger than San Francisco.

At Carson's, leading areas were misses' sportswear and petites, Jones New York and Liz Claiborne merchandise, cashmere sweaters, velour coordinates, brushed ribbed tops and thermal tops, and denims — particularly from Guess, Girbaud, Lee and Levi's -- casual and office casual look, wrinkle-free shirts and pants.

Rob Bernard, president of the J. Crew Group, which operates 29 stores, said, "We are looking at the entire month of November being up significantly. The weekend was up in the low double digits."
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