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Carlo Klemm

Christmas Was A Win For Costco And Kohl's, And A Disaster For Sears

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Carlo Klemm

Christmas Was A Win For Costco And Kohl's, And A Disaster For Sears

January 15, 2018

by Walter Loeb - Forbes

 

Excerpt -  Most of the nine-week sales results have been reported for the 2017 Christmas selling season. There are quite a lot of performance variations. At one end, we see Costco with a 10.4% comparable store gain, Kohl’s comparable store sales increase of 6.9% and Target and J.C.Penney’s respective gains of 3.4%. On the other hand, there was the disastrous sales decline of 16% to 17% at Sears Holding.

The weather was much colder than last year, so winter wear was in strong demand and that helped boost sales. Plus, the calendar was favorable for shopping – there were 4 weekends after Thanksgiving, and the season ended on a Sunday. And, with the Jewish holidays being very early, that gave sales a bump during the slowest selling time. Probably of little surprise to anyone, Amazon captured 89% of the online business. Overall, I estimate that online sales accounted for 15% of total sales for the industry.

****

As I discussed in an earlier blog, the 2017 Federal tax reform is going to give most retailers an earnings boost. While Walmart has indicated that they will raise entry-salaries and generally boost wages, most other retailers have not yet indicated formally what they will do with the extra cash, whether it will support an extra dividend, higher earnings, investment in R & D or a bonus to the staff. They are all possibilities and will essentially hide the fact that merchandising earnings will be disguised in the windfall profits. However, it is likely to stimulate sales, and I believe that the outlook for retailers is more favorable in 2018.

Retailing needs innovation and a steady flow of fresh, new ideas that will spur customers to shop, and spend, and return to experience the next great concept.

 

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