Weak holiday sales at department stores catch many off guard
Unemployment hasn’t been so low in years, wages are rising, consumer confidence is high and gasoline is cheap, all creating high expectations for department stores this holiday season.
So when Macy’s and Kohl’s reported lackluster holiday sales on Thursday, investors were taken aback, sending retail stocks into a tailspin and calling into question whether such mall-based chains can compete in a changing landscape where shoppers are shifting more of their spending online.
Macy’s saw only a slight increase of 1.1 percent in sales during November-December at stores opened at least year. And while sales were strong during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the company said sales fell off noticeably until the week of Christmas.
Meanwhile, Kohl’s reported a small sales growth that showed a dramatic slowdown from a year ago. Comparable sales rose 1.2 percent, versus 6.9 percent in the previous year.
Shares of Macy’s plummeted more than 19 percent, on track for the worst day ever. Kohl’s stock was down nearly 7 percent. Even Target’s stock took a hit, falling nearly 4 percent despite robust sales over the holidays.
Earlier this week, J.C. Penney, one of the stragglers in the department store sector, reported a drop in comparable store sales of 3.5 percent for November and December. But because Macy’s is considered a barometer of spending, particularly for the middle class and for mall spending, investors may be looking for deeper meaning in its performance.
“Macy’s report spooked investors because investors expected it to be a great holiday season across the board,” said Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, a retail research firm. “Now, they’re questioning how good the holiday season was. There is a lot of uncertainty out there.”
Triangle Street in Danbury that Bottone indicated should be running shortly.
Last month, FuelCell secured a $100 million loan from Generate Lending to finance the manufacture
of fuel cells, with the possibility of another $200 million in credit if approved by the Generate Capital affiliate. The deal’s provisions include a three-month period at the end of any installation under which FuelCell can either sell the power plant or refinance the loan; and if it does not do either, giving Generate Lending
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Shoppers in November browse aisles at a Target store in Edison, N.J.