Chains Lose Ground in April Sales
NEW YORK-As anticipated, same-store sales at the nation's major retail chains backed up somewhat in April.
Comparable-store sales at Kohl's fell 7.7 percent last month from April of last year, while Target experienced a 5.9 percent loss in same-store checkouts and Dillard's comp-store number fell back 5 percent. J.C. Penney reported a 3.3 percent downturn in its same-store sales.
The gainers were topped by TJX with a 4 percent pickup, followed by Costco with a 3 percent increase in U.S. comparable-store sales, Macy's with a 1.1 percent gain and BJ's Wholesale Club with a 0.8 percent rise (both warehouse-club numbers factor out gasoline sales).
The slow April came as no surprise to the chains. In statements accompanying their reports on the strong March same-store sales results, the retailers said they expected April to be a weaker month for sales. The March results--which included double-digit gains by Kohl's, Macy's, Target and TJX--received a significant boost from Easter, which was early in April.
The retailers who commented on their April results noted that their combined March-April same-store sales accelerated strongly over March and April of last year. Kohl's said its comp-store results for the two months improved by 8.8 percent, while TJX said its same-store sales for March and April were up 9 percent. Macy's said its two-month figures rose 6.2 percent, Dillard's same-store sales increased 2 percent and Target's comparable store sales rose 3 percent.