Q3 2017 Retail Comps: Lowered Expectations Met For Many

Earnings season kicked off with the department stores bringing more of the same news on much lower expectations which resulted in some significant moves in stock prices. As the department store releases passed, we moved onto big box and off price. There are few remaining retailers with Hudson's Bay (Saks, Saks Off Fifth) and Burlington to report later this week.

  • Dillards posted a negative comp of 1.0% with margin worse and inventories up. Difficult, difficult quarter.
  • JC Penney posted a positive comp of 1.7%, the first positive in over a year. With that said, 139 stores closed and the margin was considerably worse. JCP bought this quarter.
  • Kohls posted a positive comp of 0.1%. Gross margin dipped below 37% for the first time this year and likely helped eke out that positive comp. Definitely the best performance of the department stores thus far.
  • Difficulty continues for Macys with store comps -4.0% for owned and -3.6% in owned and licensed. Margin was healthy year over year as they further tightened inventory. 
  • Nordstrom posted -1.9% for full line and +0.8% for off-price. Not a good result for either group although Nordstrom posted relatively flat margins. Nordstrom.com posted its' lowest growth rate ever of 7% whilst Nordstromrack.com/Hautelook posted a 33% growth rate.
  • Ross arguably posted the highest comp increase married with profits at 4.0%
  • Sears declines in sales comps are accelerating, posting a -15.3%. Not much to say here. 
  • Walmart & Sam's Club blew away expectations with higher traffic and a comp above 4% and 2% respectively. This significant increase resulted in severe margin erosion with promotional pricing and triple the number of SKUs selling online.