Home helps some July comps

Retail Editor 4, Jenny Heinzen York, August 2, 2012

New York - Almost all of the key retailers tracked monthly by HTT enjoyed a comp increase - albeit modest for the bulk of them.

But even better news is that the home had something to do with it.

This was especially true for TJX Companies, which saw HomeGoods comps increase "a robust" 11%. Marmaxx comps were up 7%, significantly above plan, with an 8% comp increase for home fashions specifically.

Carol Meyrowitz, ceo, said that in July, TJX's customer traffic was "up substantially at all divisions and drove most of the comp increase, which we believe speaks to our on-point fashions and brands at great values and wide customer demographic appeal."

Stein Mart's 2.8% comp increase for the month and second quarter "reflect improvements in our merchandise and promotional approach," said Jay Stein, Interim ceo. "We are encouraged by these sales gains which are an indication that our merchandising strategy is the right one for us."

Home, ladies' accessories and ladies' career sportswear posted the strongest sales for Stein Mart in July.

Kohl's 1.7% comp increase was the result of the mid-tier department store chain's improved inventory levels heading into the Back-to-School season, according to the company. Home generated a mid-single-digit comp increase as did footwear and men's - all lead categories for the month. Strongest performers in home included bedding and sheets, and bath and towels, the company said.

Although its comps were flat for the month, Bon-Ton semi-annual home and furniture sales event "posted a strong increase largely due to the successful introduction of new fall goods," according to president and ceo Brendan Hoffman.

Only Target noted softness in home, which suffered a low single-digit comp decline in July.

Overall, Target was pleased with its 3.1% comp increase overall, noted Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and ceo. The result "was right in line with our expectation going into the quarter. Guests continue to respond to our innovative merchandising, remodel program and 5% REDcard Rewards, driving healthy increases in traffic and sales in a consumer environment that remains quite challenging."

Macy's, which posted the third-best comp results in July among key retailers, managed a 4.1% increase that met its spring season expectations despite "some challenges from a sluggish macroeconomic environment and a temporary disruption of sales from the remodeling project at our Herald Square flagship store in New York City," said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and ceo.


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