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Irene hits department stores in August; Macy’s still beats Street, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney fall short


New York City -- Macy’s reported that its same-store sales rose 5% in August, beating estimates. The retailer said sales would have been higher by 1.5% points without the impact of Hurricane Irene. Industry analysts had warned that the storm would impact department stores and specialty retailers the most as consumers focused on buying generators and other emergency and recovery items versus back-to-school and discretionary products.

Macy’s said that its sales also were hurt by about 130 Irene-related store closings, But the chain said sales over the past three days have been strong and it expects Irene’s negative effect on sales to be “substantially offset” in September and the third quarter.

At J. C. Penney Co., same-store sales in August decreased 1.9%, compared with the projected 0.8% increase. The retailer said its sales during the last week of August were negatively impacted by significant disruptions in the Northeast and Southeast caused by Hurricane Irene.

Kohl’s reported August same-store-sales fell 1.9%, with the results driven mainly by lower customer traffic.

“We are aggressively increasing our marketing as well as sharpening our pricing focus for the remainder of the fall season to reverse this trend,” said Kevin Mansell, Kohl's chairman, president and CEO. “We are optimistic that these steps, combined with the excitement surrounding the Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony launches later this month, will have a favorable impact on our sales for the remainder of the year.”

In other department store results for August:

  • Nordstrom's said its sales rose 6.7%, ahead of expectations.

  • At Saks, same-store-sales increased 6.1%., short of the 7.1% expected increase.

  • Dillard's reported sales were up 4.0% over last year.

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