December Chain Store Sales: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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 |  Includes: ANF, ARO, BJ, COST, DDS, GPS, JCP, LB, M, NMG, RTH, SKS, TGT, TJX
by: Denis Ouellet, CFA

Retailers same-store-sales for December have been better with 9 of the 13 chains that I follow showing positive YoY SSS. Only 4 did so in November. Of course, the December 2008 comp was the easiest of the year.

Still, many retailers had a hard time improving on this easier comp. The Limited (LTD) had a –2.0% SSS in December 2009 after a –10.0% in December 2008. Dillard (NYSE:DDS) and Penny (NYSE:JCP) also faired poorly against easy comps, although the winner (or loser) on this metrics is Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) which had a –19% Dec. 09 SSS against a –24% showing last year.

The table below the chart shows how December 2009 SSS compare with December 2007. Discounters have clearly gained significant market share and their December 2009 sales trends remained solid. Of note, TJX has been a big winner among discount stores since May as I have been pointing out.

Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) has been simply stellar in its merchandising after promptly reacting to the downturn at the end of 2008. Its December 2009 SSS are 23% higher than their December 2007 level.

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December 2009 SSS vs December 2007:

Neiman Marcus (Pending:NMG) -24%
Saks (NYSE:SKS) -12%
Abercrombie & Fitch -38%
Aeropostale 23%
Gap (NYSE:GPS) -12%
The Limited -12%
Dillard -12%
J.C. Penney -12%
Macy's (NYSE:M) -3%
Target (NYSE:TGT) -2%
BJs ex fuel (NYSE:BJ) 9%
Costco (US ex fuel) (NASDAQ:COST) 6%
TJX 8%
Click to enlarge


Disclosure: no position