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BIG RESULTS AT BIG CHAINS SAVE JUNE COMPS AVERAGE.

NEW YORK-The HFN Comp Sales Average for June avoided being dragged into negative territory by the stronger same-store sales performance at retailers such as Wal-Mart, Walgreen and Dollar General.

And although the average ticked up higher in June than May with a 0.9 percent increase over the same period last year, it was weighed down by the poor results at retailers such as Haverty Furniture, May Department Stores and Dillard's.

For the six-month period, the average was 1.29 percent higher than the same period last year. The lackluster results are being blamed on a softer economy, swelling corporate layoffs and reduced consumer spending. The short-term impact of these conditions results in a more promotional environment, which puts extreme pressure on gross margins, and eventually, on profits.

"While June remained a difficult selling period, heavily dependent on promotional activity, sales of accessories as well as the bedroom and home office furniture areas performed well during the month," said Carmie Mehrlander, president and chief executive officer of The Bombay Co., in the company's sales report. "The softness in sales and the promotional environment continue to pressure our gross margins and are expected to have an adverse impact on profitability."

Mehrlander said quarterly results would be lower than expected.

June also proved to be a tough month for retailers who had robust same-store sales a year ago.

"We are disappointed with the decrease in our June comp-store sales, but we were up against a very strong 7.8 percent increase last June," explained Jim Famalette, president and CEO at Gottschalks.
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Author:Zaczkiewicz, Arthur; Weber, Nathan
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Jul 16, 2001
Words:259
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