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Market Update : 
Luxury, Department Stores May Sales Weakest
Author: Staff
Last Update: 12:48 PM ET June 06 2009

12:50 PM New York Retailers struggle to entice consumers as the U.S. economy continues to shed more jobs. Luxury and department stores lead the declines in the month and year-to-date sales. Discount same store sales increases have moderated as consumers look for ways to trim purchases.

Retailers struggle for sales in May only reflected the larger struggle that consumers face. Across the nations job losses are widespread and manufacturing sector continues to shed jobs.

Luxury and department store led the declines in May. Even the discount stores did not escape from the same store sales decline. Teenage retailers and select apparel stores managed to report monthly and year-to-date sales increase.

Abercrombie Fitch reported the worst same store sales decline of 28% followed by losses of 26.6% at Saks and 13.1% at Nordstrom.

Aeropostale sales increased 19% and at Ross gained 4%. The Gap, Target and Costco reported more than 6% decline in sales.

Discount Stores Sales Struggle

BJ''s Wholesale Club, Inc. (BJ) same store sales in May decreased 6.8%, including negative impact from sales of gasoline of 10.8%. Excluding gasoline sales, merchandise club comparable sales rose 4.0%.

Total sales in the month decreased 4.7% from a year ago to $783.4 million.

Excluding sales of gasoline, traffic increased approximately 5% and the average transaction amount was approximately flat to last year. Sales of food increased 6% on strong sale of perishable foods. Sales of general merchandise rose 1%.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) reported May net sales decreased 5% to $5.47 billion.

Comparable sales in the month in the U.S. locations fell 6% and at international locations decreased 7% and across the company declined 7%.

Excluding the gasoline and currency variations, comparable sales fell 1% in the month in the U.S. and rose 7% at international locations and increased 1% across the company.

Target Corporation (TGT) net retail sales in May decreased 2.3% to $4.46 billion from a prior year month. The comparable sales in May fell 6.1%.

Wal-Mart Stores will no longer declare monthly same store sales but will provide quarterly same store sales increase.

Department Stores Sales Decline Accelerate

Macy''s, Inc (M) May same store sales fell 9.1%. Total sales declined 9.5% to $1.74 billion compared to $1.93 billion for the month of year ago.

For the year to date, total sales were $6.94 billion, a decrease of 9.5% from $7.67 billion from the year ago period. For the year-to-date same-store sales fell 9.1%.

Macy''s online sales in April gained 12.2% and for the year surged 15.2%.

J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP) reported comparable store sales decreased 8.2% for the four week period ended May 30 compared to a decline of 4.4% from a year ago month. Total sales in April declined 6.7%.

Sales for the first thirteen weeks declined 6.1% compared to a fall of 4.5% and comparable sales decreased 7.7% compared to a fall of 6.6% in the quarter a year ago.

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Sources: Data collected by and from company press releases, filings and corporate websites.
Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc.

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