Sales in April Disappoint with Lackluster Performance
With Easter falling in March this year, retailers reported that April same-store sales dipped at many big clothing store chains that depend on the holiday to bring customers through the doors.
Even L Brands Inc.—the parent company of lingerie store Victoria’s Secret, Pink and Bath & Body Works—said April same-store sales barely showed a 1 percent increase while net sales inched up 2 percent to $737.5 million for the four weeks ending April 30, compared to net sales of $724.6 million for the four weeks ending May 2, 2015.
Really taking a hit in April were teen retailer Zumiez and mid-tier denim and lifestyle store The Buckle.
Zumiez, based in Lynwood, Wash., said comp-store sales for April declined 6 percent compared to the year-earlier period while net sales dipped 1.1 percent to $51.2 million compared to $51.8 million in April 2015.
Also on a downward slope was The Buckle, based in Kearney, Neb., which reported that same-store sales were off by 13.2 percent from the previous year. Net sales for the four weeks ending April 30 dived 12.3 percent to $65.2 million compared to $74.3 million the prior year.
The Cato Corp.—a retail chain based in Charlotte, N.C., that operates 1,372 stores under the nameplates Verona, Cato and It’s Fashion—said its same-store sales declined 3 percent. Sales for the four weeks ending April 30 were $81.9 million compared to $84.1 million in April last year.
Sales for the first quarter, ending April 30, 2016, were $285.5 million, a 1 percent increase from sales of $281.6 million for the first quarter that ended May 2, 2015. Same-store sales for the first quarter were flat.
Gap Inc.—the San Francisco retailer whose stores include Old Navy, Banana Republic and Gap—is reporting its April sales on May 9.
Retail analysts were disappointed by April’s results. In a research report, Adrienne Yih Tennant of Wolfe Research in New York wrote that while retail sales were expected to disappoint during the first half of April because Easter took place in March this year, retailers were unprepared for dismal sales during the second half of April.
“We and retailers expected the unleashing of pent-up demand. It did not materialize. Sluggish mall traffic and dampened demand remained across the mall in late April, resulting in an end-of-quarter, promotionally driven inventory purge,” she wrote.