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RETAILERS REVISE ESTIMATES AS COMPS RISE.

NEW YORK-Bolstered by better-than-expected Halloween sales, cooler weather and higher traffic, October's comparable-store sales soared for many retailers, especially in the value and discount channels.

As a result, the HFN Comp-Sale Index came in with a 2.9 percent gain over the same month last year, which is up from September's 1.2 percent increase.

The improved sales also led many retailers to raise their earnings outlook for the quarter, which signaled that the holiday shopping season may come in with stronger sales.

Noteworthy was Family Dollar's comparable-store sales, which showed an increase of 16.8 percent, and Kohl's, which came in with an astounding 18.3 percent gain.

Meanwhile, The Bombay Co. posted a 17 percent gain. Management noted that strong, positive sales trends, which began in September, continued through the month of October with growth in all categories and in all regions of the country and Canada. As a result of the strong sales, the company expects the third-quarter loss per share to be in the range of 2 cents to 4 cents per share, including a previously announced one-time charge of 2 cents per share, compared with a loss of 7 cents per share last year.

For most retailers, gains in October were more modest, such as a 7 percent increase at TJX Cos. and a 3.7 percent increase at Wal-Mart. With retailers who showed smaller increases, there were still improvements.

At Federated, for example, comps showed a 0.3 percent gain, which exceeded expectations. James M. Zimmerman, chairman and chief executive officer, said the much-anticipated arrival of cold weather in many parts of the country helped October sales exceed the company's revised expectations of a 1 to 2 percent decline in same-store sales for the month. As a result, third-quarter earnings are expected to be in the range of 36 to 38 cents a share, which is above the upper end of the company's prior guidance of 30 to 35 cents a share.
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Article Details
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Author:Zaczkiewicz, Arthur; Weber, Nathan
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 11, 2002
Words:328
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