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DEPARTMENT, SPECIALTY STORES SEE BETTER SEPTEMBER COMPS.

NEW YORK-Although higher fuel costs that dragged down consumer spending was blamed on lackluster same-store sales for discounters, department and specialty home goods stores enjoyed a much-needed boost to their monthly comps.

Kohl's, Neiman Marcus and Pier 1 Imports posted comparable-store sales in September that were between 9 and 19 percent higher than last year.

HomeGoods and MarMaxx, two divisions of TJX, posted comps of 5 and 3 percent, respectively.

In a report by Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown's retail research team last Friday, department stores delivered "encouraging results" despite a heated, more competitive environment during September.

For specialty home goods retailers, the analysts reiterated their view on the segment as a top performer due to a consumer shift in spending from apparel to home furnishings.

Other strong performers came from the warehouse club segment, with same-store sales increases that were in the range of 7 percent. Drugstore retailers, such as Walgreen and Rite Aid, also tallied high comps of 10 to 16 percent.

Discount retailers seemed to struggle during the month. Analysts and retailers cited higher fuel costs at the pump for cutting into the spending of price-sensitive shoppers. There were also issues working against these retailers, such as accounting rules that force retailers to exclude layaways from sales tallies.

"We are disappointed with our September results," said Joseph R. Ettore, chairman of Ames, in a statement. "In addition, a higher amount of layaway sales this year as compared to last year also had a negative effect on our reported comp sales results consistent with the adoption of the [Security and Exchange Commission's] layaway accounting rule."

Same-Store Sales

Retailer -- September 2000 % Increase from 9/99

Ames -- -3.9%

BJ's Wholesale -- +5.9%

Bon Ton Stores -- +1.1%

Bombay Co. -- +3.0%

Consolidated Stores -- +1.3%

Costco Wholesale -- +7.0%

Dayton Hudson -- +0.4%

Dillard's -- -6.0%

Dollar General -- -0.5%

Eddie Bauer -- -12.0%

Elder-Beerman -- -1.8%

Family Dollar -- +3.5%

Federated Depart. Stores -- +2.9%

Gottschalks -- +1.3%

Haverty Furniture+8.6%

HomeGoods (TJX division) -- +5.0%

J.C. Penney -- -4.0%

Kmart -- +0.9%

Kohl's -- +9.8%

MarMaxx (TJX division) -- +3.0%

May Department Stores -- +0.7%

Neiman Marcus -- +19.0%

Pier 1 Imports -- +12.3%

Rite Aid -- +10.7%

Saks -- +3.3%

Sam's Club -- +7.0%

Sears -- +3.0%

ShopKo -- -1.0%

Target -- +3.5%

Walgreen -- +16.6%

Wal-Mart -- +4.2%

Source: Company Reports
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Author:Zaczkiewicz, Arthur; Weber, Nathan
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Oct 9, 2000
Words:397
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