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DEPARTMENT STORES HELP DRAG DOWN HFN COMP-SALES INDEX FOR AUGUST.

NEW YORK-August may be a month that many retailers would prefer to forget as the back-to-school season failed to to boost same-store sales.

As a result, the HFN Comp-Sales Index dropped 0.9 percent. July's index showed a gain of 0.9 percent.

Retailers that pulled the index down were mostly from the department store segment. Dillard's posted a same-store sales decline of 6 percent. Federated's comparable-store sales showed a 5.8 percent decline while May Department Stores' fell 8.6 percent. Sears' comparable-store sales showed an 11.1 percent decline, year over year.

Meanwhile Target, which had been keeping same-store sales in the positive territory, had trouble in August as its comps fell 0.1 percent.

Of the retailers that showed same-store sales increases, most results were lackluster. Wal-Mart's comparable-store sales rose 3.8 percent, J.C. Penney posted a 2.9 percent increase and Kohl's same-store sales gained 4 percent.

There were some bright spots, however. Pier 1 Imports' comps gained 8.6 percent. Big Lots, the closeout retailer, brought in a hefty 12.7 percent gain.

Marvin J. Girouard, chairman and chief executive officer of Pier 1, said August sales reflected "a good mix of regular-priced and promotional items." He also noted that traffic and "average ticket trends continue to increase over last year" while inventory levels are "on plan as we enter the important fall and holiday seasons."

It's important to note that despite the poor results for the department stores, at least one retailer in that segment sees signs of improvement.

James M. Zimmerman, chairman and CEO at Federated, said he was not happy with August's sales. "However, we did see some improvement in sales trends during the last two weeks of the month, including the Labor Day weekend, which gives us encouragement for achieving our plan of a 1 to 3 percent same-store sales increase for the fall season."
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Comment:DEPARTMENT STORES HELP DRAG DOWN HFN COMP-SALES INDEX FOR AUGUST.
Author:Zaczkiewicz, Arthur; story, Nathan Weber contributed to this
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 9, 2002
Words:315
Previous Article:EDDIE BAUR HOME IS TAKING A SEASONED APPROACH TO FALL.
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