NEW YORK—After hitting the accelerator in November, major U.S. retail chains saw their same-store sales numbers brake somewhat last month, despite the holiday season.
In the department-store channel, Dillard’s led the way with an impressive 7 percent comparable-store gain, on top of its 8 percent increase in November. Both Kohl’s and Macy’s reported 3.9 percent increases, weaker than their November performance in which both retailers posted 6.1 percent pickups. J.C. Penney’s December increase was 3.7 percent, off its November gain of 9.2 percent.
Costco led the discounters with a 3 percent same-store increase for its U.S. locations (after factoring out gasoline sales), down from its 6 percent November rise. The TJX Cos.’ comparable-store increase was 2 percent, compared to a 3 percent gain in November. BJ’s Wholesale Club posted a 1.4 percent pickup (without gas), on top of its 3.8 percent upsurge in November. Target’s comparable-store sales edged up 0.9 percent last month, down from the 5.5 percent increase in November.
Although December saw a deceleration in same-store sales increases, retailers professed themselves pleased with the month. Carol Meyrowitz, president and chief executive officer of TJX, said its comp-store number was achieved on top of a 14 percent same-store increase in December 2009.
Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO of Macy’s, said sales were strong at both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, and met the company’s expectations in spite of the snowstorms in the Northeast right after Christmas.
Commenting on Target’s soft December, Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO, said softness in some home product categories played a part in the mass merchant’s tepid month. In addition, gift categories moved earlier in the holiday season and lower-margin items drove a higher proportion of sales than Target expected, Steinhafel said.