NEW YORK-Coming off April, in which many of the national retail chains tracked by HFN posted double-digit same-store sales gains, May saw something of a deceleration in U.S. same-store sales increases.
Only one of the chains—J.C. Penney—reported a decline in comparable-store sales, 1 percent. The other chains saw their sales retreat from double digits or high single digits to low single digits. Macy’s led the whole pack with a 7.4 percent increase, while Dillard’s same-store sales edged up 2 percent. Kohl’s barely finished above break-even with a 0.8 percent rise.
In the discount channel, Target reported a 2.8 percent comparable-store increase, while TJX’s chains together posted a 2 percent gain. Both Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club had relatively healthy months, with the former’s U.S. same-club sales registering an 11 percent gain (6 percent factoring out gasoline sales) and BJ’s coming in with a gain of 7.4 percent (3 percent without gas). Clearly, the two clubs benefited from the beginning of the warm-weather driving season, along with continuing high gas prices.
One possible reason for the low numbers is the fact that these chains reported May sales for the period ending in the middle of the Memorial Day weekend, traditionally the first major shopping period of the warm-weather months. Another reason is that shoppers are maintaining a cautious outlook. “Our guests continue to shop cautiously in light of higher energy costs and inflationary pressures on their household budgets,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and CEO.
One retailer, Kohl’s, singled out the home sector as a strong one in May. “From a line-of-business perspective,” said Kevin Mansell, chairman, president and CEO, “accessories, home and children’s outperformed the company average for the month.”