Retail Sales Lackluster in May
NEW YORK--Same-store sales for the nation's major retail chains picked up some--but not much--of the momentum they had lost in April.
Leading the pack among the chains tracked by HFN was Costco, whose comparable-store sales rose 5 percent last month year over year, excluding gasoline sales (whose inclusion boosted the increase to 7 percent). TJX followed with a 4 percent upturn, and BJ's Wholesale Club turned in a 3.5 percent rise (6.8 percent including gas sales). Target trailed the discounters with a 1.4 percent increase.
Among the department stores, the biggest gainer was Kohl's at 3.5 percent. Macy's reported a 1.4 percent rise, while Dillard's same-store sales were dead even compared to last year. J.C. Penney posted a 1.8 percent decline.
May was certainly a better month for U.S. retailers than April, in which several of the chains posted fair-sized dropoffs after a particularly strong March. Yet Kevin Mansell, Kohl's chairman, president and chief executive officer, noted that the results last month may have suffered from the fact that Memorial Day sales were shifted into the retailers' fiscal June results, due to the occurrence of the holiday at the very end of the month.
Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target, said the lagging May results also indicated that "we will continue to experience volatility in the pace of economic recovery."