Snowy January Crimps Same-Store Sales

       

       

NEW YORK—The winter storms that hit the Northeast and the Southeast dampened last month same-store sales numbers for major U.S. retailers.

While J.C. Penney posted the only decline among the chains tracked by HFN (off 1.2 percent), almost all of the other retailers struggled with same-store gains in the very low single digits. In the department-store channel, Macy’s comparable-store sales rose 2.6 percent and Kohl’s eked out a 1.4 percent pickup. Dillard’s, in the meantime, continued its run of strong monthly increases with a 6 percent gain.

Among the discounters, Costco led the way with a 4 percent same-store-sales increase at its U.S. clubs (factoring out gasoline sales). Target reported a gain of 1.7 percent, and BJ’s Wholesale Club’s comparable-store sales edged up 0.3 percent without gas. Same-store sales for TJX’s stores rose 2 percent.

Comments from retail executives reflected the chilling effect the January weather had on their results. Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said the company’s Northeast stores were “most affected by snowstorms during the month.” Mansell did add that Kohl’s home products outperformed the company as a whole last month.

Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target, said the snow was a major factor in the company’s meager same-store-sales increase. Portions of the Northeast and the South had particularly disappointing sales last month, Steinhafel said.