JC Penney yesterday cut its quarterly profit forecast, citing “higher markdown activity”, and its shares fell 2.7 per cent. Kohl’s also cut its holiday-quarter profit outlook after a disappointing December and a disastrous sales decline in November.
Privately-owned Toys R Us also said sales fell over the key holiday period. The world’s biggest toys specialist, which is looking to go public this year, reported a 1.2 per cent rise in December sales at established US stores, but total sales dropped.
Turnover at Target and Costco rose over Christmas, but missed forecasts, and Gap’s same-store takings fell four per cent.
But Macy’s, which expanded its late-night hours to more stores in the final days before Christmas and carried more exclusive goods, reported a better-than-expected 6.2 per cent rise in December sales and raised its outlook for the quarter.
“The consumer is in the driver's seat -- they have the power,” said David Bassuk, head of AlixPartners retail practice. “We’ll still see aggressive promotions in the next six months.”