Department Stores Report Uneven Holiday Results

Several department stores and mass merchants called their holiday comps disappointing, another sign of what analysts termed a lackluster Christmas season.

Still, most reported healthy sales, particularly Nordstrom, which saw an 8.6 percent increase in same-store sales for the five-week period ended Dec. 29.  

Costco’s also scored big, with U.S. comp sales for the five-week holiday season rising 8 percent in the U.S., and 6 percent internationally.

Macy’s announced its comp sales rose 4.1 percent in December, and 2.5 percent in November and December. Online sales for Macys.com and Bloomingdales.com were up 51.7 percent.

Bon-Ton Stores found that same-store sales for the five weeks ended Dec. 29 increased 2.4 percent, with total sales rising 1.5 percent to $512.9 million. The company called fine jewelry “among its best performers.”

Comp sales at Kohl’s increased 3.4 percent over the five-week period ended Dec. 29, with total sales increasing 4 percent. However comparable store sales for the year have decreased 0.3 percent.

“December sales were lower than planned,” admitted Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president, and chief executive officer, in a statement, noting the company discounted heavily.

Target Corporation also announced disappointing results, calling its December comps “essentially flat.” Overall retail sales increased 0.8 percent to $10.2 billion.

“December sales were slightly below our expectations, as strong results late in the month did not completely offset softness in the first three weeks,” Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Target Corporation, said in a statement.