Morning Coffee Aug 03 2012

Hit-and-Miss July for Retailers

By Beecher Tuttle

Large retail chains like Target, Macy's and the Gap posted better-than-expected same-store sales in July, powered mainly by discount promotions and a long stretch of pristine weather, according to Bloomberg.

In an analysis of more than 20 major retailers, same-store sales were up 4.4% in July, easily topping the projection of a 1.4% increase. Discount retailers like Ross Stores and TJX had a strong July, each booking an increase in sales of roughly 7%, while high-end stores like Saks and Nordstrom's saw modest gains.

The same can't be said of several teen retailers, however, suggesting that a sluggish back-to-school market may be on the horizon. Teen clothing chain Wet Seal saw a 15.6% drop in same-store sales while rival teen retailer Buckle posted a 0.1% drop.

Abercrombie & Fitch, meanwhile, projected a 10% dip in sales for the second half of 2012, sending its stock plummeting. Rival Aeropostale also saw its shares drop after issuing a poor earnings report.

"It's too early to say the misses mean a bad back-to-school, but it's not a cause for optimism," Joel Bines, head of the retail practice at AlixPartners, told Dow Jones.

Sales Buzz

'Serious' Problems for BMS (WSJ)

With revenue already on the decline, Bristol-Myers Squibb was dealt another blow this week when it was forced to suspend a hepatitis C study due to a "serious" issue with the drug in question. The pharmaceutical firm recently paid $2.5 billion to acquire the company that developed the drug.

Japanese Invasion (Bloomberg)

Japanese automakers Honda, Toyota and Nissan each posted better-than-expected sales numbers.

Back in Black (Bloomberg)

One day after NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke noted that the broadcaster may break even on the 2012 Summer Olympics, reversing a recent trend, NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus said the network may even turn a profit due to better-than-expected ad sales.

Marketing Buzz

Status Quo (WSJ)

General Motors' interim marketing chief, Alan Batey, plans to push forward with his predecessor's advertising strategy.

Observer Editor to Go (Ad Age)

Elizabeth Spiers, editor-in-chief of the New York Observer, will be leaving the publication in September to launch a yet-to-be-named content start-up in the healthcare industry.

Brides Goes Bimonthly (Ad Age)

Condé Nast pared down its wedding publications by announcing that Brides magazine will be published six times a year, rather than monthly. The publisher eliminated Modern Bride and Elegant Bride magazines in 2010.

Buzz Around the Office

Ketchup with the Times (Business Insider)

If you're like us, you've been dunking your fries incorrectly for decades.

List of the Day: Mentors You Need

Try to cultivate relationships with the following types of people for a 360-degree view of your career.

1. Someone who is a year ahead of you.

2. Someone who has five years of experience.

3. Someone who can plan your career.

(Source: Forbes)

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