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Dillard’s Posts 2 Percent Actual, Same-Store Sales Increases

By: 8 July 2010 One Comment

ROGERS — Consumers opened their wallets in June more than last summer, when the recession still had a stranglehold on the nation, and retail spending was the best it’s been in four years.

Little Rock-based Dillards Inc. reported Thursday morning retail sales of $506.5 million for the five weeks ended July 3. That’s up 1.87 percent from the $497.17 million in sales for the five weeks ended July 4, 2009.

Dillard's at Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers, Ark.

Comparable store sales, at Dillard’s department stores open for at least one year, increased 2 percent. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Dillard’s sales at stores open at least one year to decline by 1 percent.

Retailers use comparable store sales, also called same store sales, as a standard. That is because customers could flock to a newly opened store out of curiosity, then return to former shopping habits once the novelty is gone.

Overall retail sales increased by 3.8 percent in June, based on a survey of 31 major retail chains, according to trade group the International Council of Shopping Centers.

That is retail’s best performance since 2006, according to the council.
The best performing retail segments included luxury stores, whose sales increased 8.8 percent overall in June, and department stores, whose sales increased by nearly 6 percent overall, the council reported.

Another organization said sales at chain stores increased by about a half percent less than what the International Council of Shopping Centers reported.

Dillard’s and other retailers benefited from a late Memorial Day weekend which boosted overall sales, excluding Walmart, by 3.2 percent in June, according to Kantar Retail’s Retail Forward division. Kantar Retail is a consumer insights and consulting firm with more than 400 employees and offices in 15 markets, including Columbus, Ohio.

“The June results are positive, but the recovery in retail sales will be challenged in the coming months as long as doubts grow among shoppers,” said Frank Badillo, Kantar Retail senior economist.

Some of the good sales resulted from retailers stocking what consumers want, said Patricia Edwards of Storehouse Partners in Bellevue, Wash.

She noted some retailers, like Ann Taylor, have “beautiful stuff” in stores. Ann Taylor Loft has a store at Pinnacle Hills Promenade in western Rogers.

“Retailers that get product right will continue to win,” Edwards said.
Bentonville-based Walmart has not released monthly sales figures for more than a year. The retailer releases quarterly sales figures in its quarterly earnings reports for its three divisions: Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club and International.

Walmart’s competitor, Minneapolis-based Target Corp., reported $5.9 billion in sales for the five weeks ended July 3, a 4 percent increase from the $5.69 billion in sales for the comparable period last year.

Target’s June same-store sales increased 1.7 percent.

Target’s sales were “relatively soft” for the second month this quarter, despite being profitable in the credit card segment, said Gregg Steinhafel, Target president and chief executive officer, in a news release.

Consumers bought clothing, food and health and beauty aids in June, while purchasing fewer electronics, video games, music and movies, Steinhafel said.

“We continue to plan our business cautiously, with a focus on disciplined execution of our strategy across the company,” Steinhafel said.

Being cautious is accurate, as challenged consumers still are not spending profligately. About 37 percent of shoppers reported in June that they plan to spend less in the coming month, about the same percentage as June last year, according to a Kantar Retail survey.

Eleanor Evans, a part-time Census worker and freelance writer in Rogers, Ark., said she did not make any special shopping trips in June.

“I didn’t make any large purchases for clothing. My shopping was basically groceries and pet supplies, just the things I needed,” Evans said.

However, Evans spent about $600 for a new mattress and box springs in June.

“The old one was a hand-me-down and I can’t remember ever owning a new mattress,” Evans said.

About 53 percent of shoppers plan to spend the same in the coming months, the same percentage as those who reported they would hold steady in the coming months as of June 2009, according to Kantar Retail.

Consumers still are weighed by debt, including credit cards, worry about mortgage payments and value of investments.

Another Walmart competitor, Costco Wholesale Corp., reported $7.33 billion in June sales, a 7 percent increase from the $6.87 billion in June last year.

Those results are particularly good considering that this year’s five-week reporting period had 33 days, compared with last year’s 34 days, Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco noted in a news release.

Other department stores, like Dillard’s, showed sales results that were better than expected, Badillo noted.

For example, Kohl’s Corp. reported its sales increased 9.1 percent and same-store sales increased 5.9 percent. That is not surprising for a chain where a woman can buy a blouse on sale for $12 or a skirt on sale for $10, so bargain-seeking consumers buy in volume or hit Kohl’s first or more often than other chains.

Macy’s Inc., which carries brands and product assortment similar to Dillard’s, reported a 9 percent increase in sales for the five weeks ended July 3 and a 6.5 percent increase in same store sales.

Dillard’s also had fair results for the 22 weeks ended July 3, with $2.37 billion in sales. That’s a 1 percent increase from the $2.34 billion in sales for the 22 weeks ended July 4, 2009.

Dillard’s same store sales increased by 2 percent for the 22 weeks this year compared with last year.

Cosmetics at the Estee Lauder, Lancome, MAC and other counters did not improve. Dillard’s in its sales release Thursday morning stated cosmetics sales were “significantly below trend.”

Dillard’s operates department stores in 29 states including Arkansas. Its large stores in Arkansas include at the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville, Central Mall in Fort Smith, Pinnacle Hills Promenade in western Rogers, at Park Plaza Center in Little Rock and at McCain Mall in North Little Rock.
Dillard’s has nearly 30,000 full-time employees.

Shares of Dillard’s (NYSE: DDS) traded at $21.08 per share as of 9:12 a.m. Thursday, up 9 cents. The share price ranged from a $31.22 high to a $7.85 low in the past 52 weeks.

About: Lana F. Flowers:
Lana F. Flowers is a gifted Arkansas reporter who can handle news about Walmart and retail, movie and book reviews, human interest stories, features and anything else you'd care to mention. She lives in Rogers, Ark., with her husband Jesse, daughter Layla, cats Lottie Boots and Emmy, and dog Fuzzy. Send an email --

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