Depart­ment store chains see key sales fig­ures fall again

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Joseph Pisani

NEW YORK» It’s still a rough time to be a depart­ment store.

Macy’s, Kohl’s and Dil­lard’s all said Thurs­day that a key sales fig­ure fell again in the lat­est quar­ter as cus­tomers in­creas­ingly shop on­line, at dis­count stores and else­where. Nord­strom, the out­lier, saw those sales rise 1.7 per­cent over­all and even more at its dis­count Nord­strom Rack unit.

At Macy’s the de­crease wasn’t as bad as Wall Street ex­pected, and Kohl’s man­aged to keep the de­cline to just 0.4 per­cent.

But shares of all three plum­meted, with Macy’s Inc. hit­ting a 7-year low Thurs­day. Kohl’s Corp. fell 5 per­cent and Dil­lard’s Inc. dropped 16 per­cent af­ter re­port­ing a loss of $17.1 mil­lion.

Macy’s has cut jobs and closed some stores, has started an off­price brand, and it plans to launch a loy­alty pro­gram in Oc­to­ber that it hopes will bring more shop­pers through its doors. The com­pany is open to more changes: When asked Thurs­day if Macy’s would con­sider sell­ing medicine, ap­pli­ances or other items to make it more of a one-stop shop, CEO Jeff Gen­nette didn’t say no. “Macy’s is a very flex­i­ble brand,” he said.

Ri­val J.C Pen­ney, which is sched­uled to re­port re­sults Friday, has brought ma­jor ap­pli­ances to its stores.

Macy’s, the na­tion’s largest depart­ment store chain, said sales fell 2.8 per­cent at es­tab­lished stores dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter, its tenth such de­cline in a row. But that was bet­ter than the 3.3 per­cent drop that an­a­lysts ex­pected, ac­cord­ing to Fact Set. Kohl’s saw same-store-sales fell 0.4 per­cent dur­ing the quar­ter. Still, Pres­i­dent and CEO Kevin Mansell said foot traf­fic in­creased dur­ing the quar­ter. Dil­lard’s said its sales fell 1 per­cent at es­tab­lished stores.

At Seattle-based Nord­strom, the flag­ship Nord­strom unit, which in­cludes on­line cloth­ing concierge Trunk Club, re­ported a 1.4 per­cent in­crease in sales at es­tab­lished stores. The Nord­strom Rack unit re­ported a 3.1 per­cent im­prove­ment.

An­a­lysts at Citi said the re­sults from Macy’s were “less bad.” At Kohl’s, they saw “bet­ter than ex­pected” sales and hints that the back-to-school sea­son had started well.

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