Top 5 and Bottom 5 Retailers of January 2013

January rang in the New Year with a bang. Some retailers entered January in hopes of a new beginning while others hoped the momentum of a strong holiday season would be the preface to a positive year. While some retailers are off to a great start, others struggled with the expiration of the payroll tax holiday on January 1. Companies including Nordstrom, Macy's, Limited Brands, Cato Corp and Wet Seal were among those reporting significant gains and losses.
Overall, results for January sales were mixed as consumers faced a hit to their take-home pay from higher payroll taxes, but cold weather may have helped to spur purchases of winter clothes. In a report by Reuters, "U.S. consumer sentiment improved in January as Americans felt Washington's deal to avert the 'fiscal cliff' at the beginning of the month boded well for the economy, a survey released last week showed."
RIS News has tracked the same-store sales results of 20 retailers. Here are the top five and bottom five retailers in January:
Top 5 Retailers (based on same-store sales for January 2012 compared to January 2013):
Fred's                                    +28.6%
Macy's                                  +11.7%
Nordstrom                             +11.4%
Stage Stores                         +10.5%
Limited Brands                      +9%
Macy's remained among the Top 5 with an 11.7% increase, "This exceptional January performance capped our company’s third consecutive year of topline sales growth of more than $1 billion, which began in 2009 when we restructured Macy’s into a national retailer with a local focus. Clearly, our strategies are resonating with customers as they shop in our stores, online and via mobile," said Terry J. Lundgren, CEO of Macy’s, Inc. “We are continuing to execute new elements within our key strategies to maintain the growth and momentum in our business. Our team across the company remains committed to innovation and continuous improvement through enhanced localization of our merchandising and marketing strategies, omnichannel integration and customer engagement."
Stage Stores also recorded double digit growth. "Our strong finish to the year gives us momentum heading into 2013. That, coupled with the initiatives we have in place to build upon the excitement that we created in 2012 in our merchandising, marketing and stores, makes us optimistic that we can continue to deliver strong sales and earnings growth," said Michael Glazer, CEO of Stage Stores.
Among others showing positive double digit increases are Fred's with a 28.6% increase and Nordstrom with an 11.4% increase. Limited Brands also ranked among the Top 5 with a 9% increase, while Gap just missed the list at 8%.
Zumiez, which recorded positive results for several months and experienced a 1% decline for December 2012, has regained its ground posting a 2.6% gain for January.
Bottom 5 Performers (based on same-store sales for January 2012 compared to January 2013; six retailers are listed due to a tie in fifth place):
Cato Corp                            -12%
Wet Seal                              -9.4%
Costco                                 -3%
The Buckle                           -2%
Bon-Ton Stores                     -0.4%
Walgreens                            -0.4%
Wet Seal continues to rank among the poor performer list as measured by the same-store sales metric, with a 9.4% decrease. In a statement issued by the company on January 3, 2013, the company is reacting to the learning curve. "At Wet Seal, while sales were strong in the first week of January, business slowed considerably during the course of the month, driven by transaction declines. We responded with aggressive promotional and clearance strategies, enabling us to end the fiscal year with a clean inventory position from which to build our spring assortment in the coming weeks."
Other retailers that reported a decline in comparable store sales include Costco with a 3% decrease, The Buckle with a 2% decrease and Bon-Ton Stores and Walgreens tied with a 0.4% decrease.
The Cato Corporation also reported a 12% decrease, "January same-store sales results reflect the difficult retail environment the Company faced during 2012. Sales at the beginning of the month were in line with our year-to-date trend. However, sales at the end of the month were significantly worse than trend. We think this was primarily due to the timing of tax refunds and the effect of higher payroll taxes," said John Cato, CEO for Cato Corp. "We are unclear what portion of the sales lost due to tax refund delays will be recouped."
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