Kohl's lags behind Macy's, JCPenney in comps growth

CINCINNATI, MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis., and PLANO, Texas — Macy’s emerged as the big winner among department-store retailers this July, reporting sales growth that exceeded expectations. JCPenney also faired well for July, while Kohl’s sales disappointed. 

Macy’s Inc. reported total sales of $1.6 billion for the four weeks ended July 30, an increase of 5% compared with total sales of $1.525 billion in the four weeks ended July 31, 2010. On a same-store basis, Macy’s Inc. sales were up 5% in July.

“Our July sales performance once again exceeded our expectations and represented a continuation of the balanced success we have seen throughout the year. Store and online sales throughout the second quarter continued to be strong at both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. This is especially encouraging given the comparison to our robust same-store sales performance in July and second quarter last year,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy’s Inc. 

JCPenney reported that total sales for July increased 1% to $1.17 million from $1.16 million for the same period last year. Comparable-store sales for the month were up 3.3%. According to the company, its strongest categories for the month were women's apparel and accessories, and fine jewelry.

Kohl’s reported that total sales for July decreased 2.9% to $1.12 million from $1.16 million, and comparable-store sales decreased 4.6%.

Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and CEO, commented, “Our July comp sales results were disappointing, particularly given the strong June results we had achieved. I am, however, especially pleased with our ability to manage our inventory and expenses resulting in better than planned gross margins as well as better than planned leverage on our expenses. Early indications of customer reaction to higher apparel prices are in line with our expectations in terms of unit demand.”

Kohl’s said it now expects its second quarter earnings to be $1.07 to $1.08 per diluted share, compared with its previous guidance of 96 cents to $1.02 per diluted share.