September was one of the hottest on record this year,
with Weather Trends International calling the month the 8th warmest and 21st
driest September in 113 years. The International Council of Shopping Centers
said the warm weather caused a half-percentage point drag to overall retail
comps for the month. Same-store sales grew 1.7% for the month, based on a
preliminary tally of 49 retail-chain stores compiled by the ICSC. For the
year-to-date period, the ICSC estimates average monthly comp sales growth was
2.3%, showing that without the 0.5% weather drag, same-store sales growth was
relatively in-line with the YTD trend. Luxury and Wholesale Club retailers
posted the highest comp gains, according to the ICSC data, up 4.9% and 5.1%,
respectively, though Lux fell from its YTD trend of 8.1% comp growth. The ICSC
data showed Apparel retailers to have comped down in the low-singles for the
month, though the firm does not include Zumiez, which had a mid-teens comps
improvement, in its summary.
According to retail point-of-sale data compiled by
, the sporting goods
market felt similar pressures in apparel sales, but footwear and hardgoods both
benefited from the warm weather as consumers added an extra pair of sandals to
the closet or continued to play summer sports into the traditionally cooler
Sport Footwear had a strong month with dollars
increasing in the low-double-digits on a mid-singles improvement in average
selling price. Sales were driven by Lifestyle/Fashion Athletic product, as well
as Canvas and Skate. Skate was up in the strong double-digits for the month,
but a downturn in sales of Heelys product offset that growth in the overall
Action Sports category. Sandals sales were up in the strong double-digits for
the month as well, obviously benefiting from the warm weather that caused pain
elsewhere, but also reflecting its new year round status.
The picture was
quite different for Sport Apparel, where the warm weather that plagued
retailers in September slowed growth in nearly every category, causing overall
dollars to be down in the mid-singles. The category most obviously affected by
the abnormal weather was Compression Apparel, where athletes continued to play
in the warm weather product they bought for summer camps instead of buying new
cold weather gear.
The cold weather categories, like Fleece and Outerwear,
also saw double-digit decreases for the month as consumers saw no reason to tap
into already spread-thin budgets to replace old and worn fall and winter
apparel when the cold still feels months away. It is clearly a buy now, wear
Licensed Softgoods saw a decrease in sales similar to
Sport Apparel, while Licensed Hardgoods were down in the low-singles. MLB, NBA
and NHL product all saw double-digit dollar sales improvements in fiscal
September, but the start to the NFL season proved more sluggish than last year
with sales down in the mid-singles. Jerseys sold well in the month, up in the
mid-teens, fueled by the postseasons approach in the MLB and the launch
in the NHL, but Outerwear again limited overall growth.
Sporting Goods Hardgoods sales were boosted by the warm
weather with many categories posting double-digit growth rates and even Tennis
showing positive sales growth for the month. Despite the tight credit markets
and tensions over the housing market slump, durable goods like Fitness
Equipment sold well, while warm weather categories like Golf, Tennis and Skate
had sales boosted by the extended season.
Looking forward to October, the ICSC is calling for
comp-store sales to increase 2.5%, more or less on trend with the fiscal
Action sports retailer
saw comparable store sales increase 13.9% for
fiscal September ended October 6, this on top of a 14.9% jump in the year-ago
month. Net sales increased 11.8% to $32.1 million from $28.7 million last
year. The company noted on a recorded conference call that due to the 53
week added to this fiscal year, sales in the week before Labor Day fell to
August this year as opposed to September last year. On a comparable week
basis, overall sales increased 30% for September. Mens was again called
out as the top contributor to the comps gain.
Pacific Sunwear of California
turned positive in September with company-wide comps increasing 2.7%
and net sales growing 5.3% to $106.2 million from $100.9 million last year. By
concept, PacSun same-store sales increased 5.4%, but demo same-store sales
decreased 15.4% compared to the same five week period last year.
On a regional basis, the company said comps were
strongest in the Northwest,
all regions except for the desert Southwest.
For PacSun, comps in the apparel category for juniors
were up in the low-20s, driven by juniors Bullhead denim, shorts and tops.
Guys' apparel comps for the month were said to be up mid-single-digits, driven
by tops and swimming shorts, partially offset by weakness in denim. The
footwear business was down in the mid-singles, but was said to have shown an
improving trend. Guys' sneakers comped positive in the back half of the month,
while juniors sneakers were positive the entire month.
Total accessory comps were down low-double-digits for
the month, primarily due to the exiting this year of certain accessory
classes. Junior accessory comps were up low-singles, but guys were down in the
mid-20s. Breaking out the go-forward accessory classes, juniors were up
high-single-digits and guys were down high-single-digits.
At demo, same-store sales were down in the high-singles
for juniors, and down in the low-20s for young men.
For the month, total company transactions per
comp-store were up mid-single-digits. The average unit retail was down
low-single-digits. The average items sold per transaction were down
low-single-digits. The average transaction value per comp-store was down