Same-stores up slightly in third week
Staff -- Home Textiles Today, 2/3/2003 12:00:00 AM
NEW YORK —
Most big American retailers had been expecting relatively sluggish sales during the third week of January, and weren't far off the mark, with same-store sales moving up by 1.9 percent, a modest improvement over the prior week's gain of 1.5 percent, according to the Redbook Retail Sales Average.
For the three weeks month-to-date, sales were up by 1.8 percent over the same period a year ago, in line with expectations. Sales for the three-week period were up by 0.7 percent over December, again in line with expectations.
In good news for home fashions producers, home furnishings were once again cited as a sales leader, as they were through much of last year, even when apparel and other segments disappointed.
"The week again produced mixed results," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. Stores had planned for a relatively soft month and continued to perform close to expectations.
Cold weather across much of the nation translated into higher sales of seasonal goods, if not necessarily higher profits. "The cold weather encouraged shoppers to purchase winter apparel," Levis noted. But since most winter inventory is being sold at clearance sales, "this type of business did not necessarily translate into higher margins, but did momentarily improve sales performance."
Looking at what was selling, Levis said, "Apparel, home furnishings and other seasonal soft lines ranked high on volume leader lists as retailers sold where they were discounting."
Super Bowl Sunday may have figured into the sales results for the week, and Levis noted, "Some merchants claimed to detect a stronger tone toward the Super Bowl weekend. Super Bowl Sunday also drove sales of big-screen televisions with zero-percent financing, snack-food, beverages and other related merchandise." The Super Bowl was a week earlier this year, Levis noted, which could have some impact on results for the fourth week of January.
Surveying sales performance on a regional basis, the greatest strength was reported in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.
Turning her attention to new security issues, Levis said a new "24-hour rule" that governs the loading of imports into containers headed for the U.S. could cause shipping delays and possibly disrupt some planned sales events. The new rule, which takes effect Feb. 2, requires off-shore suppliers to submit shipping documents 24 hours before a container is loaded onto a ship. "Some retailers may face delays in cargo shipments," said Levis.
Redbook Retail Sales Average
Third week of January
|*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.
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