Seek­ing hol­i­day cheer

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - BUSINESS -

It could be a chilly hol­i­day sea­son for depart­ment stores.

A mixed bag of third-quar­ter earn­ings re­ports from Macy’s, J.C. Pen­ney, Kohl’s and Nord­strom un­der­scored the chal­lenges they face in at­tract­ing shop­pers in the era of Ama­zon.

Macy’s said sales fell at es­tab­lished stores in the third quar­ter, mark­ing the 11th straight quar­ter of de­clines. Kohl’s re­ported a drop in quar­terly profit, though it saw ris­ing sales. And J.C. Pen­ney de­liv­ered a smaller-than-ex­pected loss, but it marked the 19th quar­terly loss in the past 23 quar­ters. And while J.C.

Pen­ney’s in­crease in sales at es­tab­lished stores marked the first time in a year that hap­pened, busi­ness was helped by liq­ui­dat­ing in­ven­tory. Even Nord­strom saw a key sales mea­sure fall and trimmed its out­look. And busi­ness at Nord­strom Rack, long an en­gine of growth, has stalled.

The good news for re­tail­ers: They’re keep­ing in­ven­tory lean, which means they may have less to mark down af­ter the hol­i­day. But driv­ing sales still re­mains elu­sive.

“I don’t know how they’re go­ing to grow any­more,” said an­a­lyst Ken Perkins at Re­tail Met­rics. “Foot traf­fic is down. And their on­line busi­ness is not grow­ing fast enough to re­coup what they’re los­ing from Ama­zon.”

Anne D’In­no­cen­zio; J.Paschke • AP

Source: Fac­tSet

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