14429 Thu, 05/08/2008 - 12:03pm
NEW YORK–Leading home retailers saw their sales in stores open at least a year rebound in April, countering the serious decline in March. Reports issued by 17 retailers this morning show comparable-store sales up 3 percent. That compares favorably with the declines in March of 4.3 percent, and in April 2007 of 3.6 percent.
The increase may signal either the start of a turnaround in the economy in general, or simply the fact that more consumers are abandoning higher-priced department stores for the more affordable mass retailers.
Virtually all of the increase was due to stronger showings by mass merchants and warehouse clubs, countering the declines in almost all traditional department stores.
As a group, for example, the mass merchants, discounters and clubs tracked by HFN were up 7 percent, with the strongest showing by BJ’ s Wholesale, which rose 17.8 percent.
By contrast, the department stores fared poorly, with only Kohl’s showing an increase. All the rest were down. In this group, J.C. Penney slipped the steepest, at 12.3 percent.
In general, home goods were among the less robust categories. “The weakest-performing categories were in home: soft, hard and furniture, which compared unfavorable to the strong result in April of last year,” said Tony Buccina, vice chairman and president, merchandising, at the Bon-Ton Stores.
Haverty’s, a vertical furniture maker and retailer, reported same-stores sales down 2.7 percent.
At Wal-Mart as well, which showed a 3.8 percent increase overall, home was “soft,” according to a statement.
And at BJ’s Wholesale, residential furniture was described as among the “weaker departments.”