Blog: Leonie BarrieRetailers' results a mixed bag

Leonie Barrie | 9 November 2009

US retailers posted a mixed bag of results last week, despite October same-store sales putting in their best monthly performance for more than a year.

Sales were in part bolstered by easy comparisons with the year-ago period when consumer spending went into freefall. But it's also clear from the figures that shoppers are continuing to trade down to lower-priced brands and retailers as worries about job losses, debts and the economy continue to persist.

Other factors lifting October's results include cold weather sales of seasonal merchandise such as winter coats and knitwear, and strong promotions and deep discounts.

Attention is now switching to the looming holiday shopping season – the most important event in the sales calendar – which kicks off in just a few weeks.

At apparel group Liz Claiborne, third quarter loss hit US$91m, 32% up on last year, as sales continued to fall. Third quarter comps were ahead of the company's own guidance, but the declines still make pretty grim reading: Juicy Couture down 13%, Lucky Brand down 16%, Kate Spade down 3%, Mexx down 13%, Liz Claiborne down 13%.

However, CEO Bill McComb scents some sign of recovery in a fourth quarter even though it is, by his own admission, likely to result in another double-digit sales decline.

US fashion company Polo Ralph Lauren, meanwhile, saw its second quarter profit rise 10%, and reported gains in market share after “disciplined operational management” helped offset a 4% drop in sales. The firm said it will continue to invest in high growth international markets, including a double-pronged effort to control brand operations in Japan and South East Asia and expand into surrounding markets.

Marks & Spencer is also eyeing more stores in China despite the teething problems it faced after launching a first outlet in Shanghai last year. Chief executive Sir Stuart Rose said the retailer's broad appeal helped the company towards a 1.7% growth in first-half general merchandise sales. But he said the firm remains cautious in its outlook for Christmas and the year ahead despite posting a slight gain in first-half profit and increasing its market share in clothing.

Uncertainties over the European Commission’s plans to extend anti-dumping duties on imports of leather shoes from China and Vietnam continue to worry retailers, importers and manufacturers. The EC has been accused of ignoring industry concerns about the decision after it sent Member States its final conclusions into the investigation the day after feedback was filed. And China's shoe manufacturers told just-style they are bracing for a further hit to exports.


BLOG

US border tax a contentious issue

Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...

BLOG

Primark's sustainable cotton programme takes shape

With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...

BLOG

Trump administration starts to shake up trade

Last week we marked the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States by taking a closer look at what's at stake for the textile and apparel trade – especially his promises t...

BLOG

Likely shifts in the sourcing landscape in 2017

Continuing our look at what lies ahead for the apparel industry and its supply chain in 2017, the panel of industry experts consulted by just-style last week tackled likely shifts in the sourcing land...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?