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Macy’s and J.C. Penney top estimates

New York City The nation’s department store retailers generally reported better-than-expected results in September, helped by a strong back-to-school season.

Macy's same-store sales rose 4.8% in September, helped by a strong back-to-school season and strong results from private brands, better than the 3.3% rise that analysts had expected. For the five weeks ended Oct. 2, total sales rose 6.9% to $2.18 billion.

The department store company’s online sales, which include results for Macys.com and Bloomingdales.com, climbed 29.3% in September. Online sales are included in the company's same-store sales results.

Chairman, president and CEO Terry Lundgren said in a statement the chain continued to see strong results from private brands, including American Rag and Material Girl, a juniors brand from Madonna.

“We continue to be impressed by the ability of our My Macy’s localization initiatives to address specific customer needs by location, including in those pilot markets where implementation now is in its third year,” Lundgren said. “The sales growth at both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s has fueled a high level of energy and spirit within our organization. We believe this momentum will work to our benefit as we approach the upcoming holiday selling season.”

J.C. Penney said its September same-store sales rose 5.1%. Analysts, on average, had expected comparable store sales to rise 3.1%, according to Thomson Reuters. Total sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 2 rose 2.9% to $1.48 billion.

Overall, J.C. Penney said, men’s apparel was the top performing division for the month, followed by shoes and fine jewelry, which benefited from a successful promotion. The best performing regions were the southeast and central regions

Kohl's Corp. said its September same-store sales rose 3%, slightly below the target of 3.3% in a survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters. Total sales rose 5.3%.

Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and CEO, commented, “We are pleased with our sales performance in September, especially given the comparison to last year’s 5.5% comparable store sales increase. The Southeast and Midwest regions outperformed the company. From a line-of-business perspective, the Footwear business once again reported the strongest comparable store sales for the month.”

  • Nordstrom reported a 7.5% increase in sales, better than the 4.3% gain analysts expected.

  • Saks said its sales were up 6.5%. Analysts, on average, had expected same-store sales to rise 3.8%.

  • Dillard’s sales rose 3%, exceeding estimates.

  • Bon-Ton Stores reported a 5.9% increase.

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