Thursday, March 7, 2013

February Same-Store Sales Roundup

As the graphic below shows, monthly same-store sales just ain't what they used to be. In July 2004, there were 77 retailers that reported monthly sales, representing about 66% of GAFO (General Merchandise, Apparel & Accessories, Furniture and Other – Office Supplies, Stationary & Gifts) store sales.

After 7 more companies discontinued reporting monthly sales after January - Bon-Ton, Kohl's, Macy, Nordstrom, Stage Stores, Target and Wet Seal - there are only 13 companies left that continue to report monthly figures, representing roughly 20% of GAFO sales, with 3 chains - Costco, Rite Aid and Walgreen - accounting for more than three quarters of total reported February sales.

Back in mid-2011 we discussed in detail why we believe this trend is unfortunate for both companies and shareholders. With that being said, let's get on with the roundup of what's left of retailer's monthly reports.

Total net sales for the 13 chains we track increased 3.4% from a year ago to $20.5 billion in February, while same-store sales rose 1.9% compared to a 3.4% gain last year. Excluding drug stores, total sales in increased 8.0% and same-store sales rose 4.1% on top of a 7.7% gain in the year-ago period.

Results were mixed in what is typically the second-lightest month in terms of volume behind January. The effects of higher payroll taxes and gas prices, delayed tax returns and severe winter storms all were mentioned as dampening sales. Business should pick up in mid-March as spring breaks kick off - as usual, March and April results will be affected by the Easter shift, so the combined 2-month period will be the best barometer of performance.

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