Holiday: Mixed Month for Majors

The majors generally did well this holiday, although there were some exceptions. Zale and Finlay both posted slight gains, but they were below expectations. The big winners seem to be Sterling and upmarket chains like Tiffany and Mayors:

  • Holiday same-store sales at Zale Corp. increased 0.9 percent over 2004, a disappointing number, the company said. Gordon’s Jewelers, Bailey Banks & Biddle Fine Jewelers, Zales Outlet, and Zale Canada each saw a 6 percent or greater increase in same-store sales, but same-store sales at Zales Jewelers and Piercing Pagoda decreased about 4 percent.

  • Signet Group said same-store holiday sales at its U.S. division, Sterling, were up 5.5 percent, and total-dollar sales grew 10.5 percent. Comp-store sales in the United Kingdom fell 9.3 percent, meaning Signet overall registered a 1.1 percent increase in same-store holiday sales.

  • Tiffany‘s U.S. comparable store sales rose 6 percent, and overall sales increased 8 percent, because of an increase in the average amount per transaction. Overall, net holiday sales rose 6 percent.

  • Finlay Enterprises‘ comparable-department sales in November and December increased 1 percent at what it called “go-forward doors,” which doesn’t include the 196 doors that Finlay will no longer operate in 2006. Including those discontinued units, comparable sales decreased 0.6 percent.

  • Birks & Mayors said comparable- store sales increased 17 percent during the 2005 holiday season. Net sales also increased 17 percent.

  • Whitehall Jewellers said comparable-store sales declined 0.3 percent for the two-month holiday period, versus a 9 percent decrease in November and December 2004.