The Bay on Thursday posted same-store sales growth of 6.7 per cent for the nine weeks ending Dec. 29, lower than the 9 per cent previously reported for the month of November alone, according to Keith Howlett, retail analyst for Desjardins Research.
TJX Canada, which includes Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls, posted same-store sale increases of 4 per cent. Costco Canada meanwhile, was cited as one of the best performing international markets by the U.S.–based discount warehouse retailer.
“We had relatively modest expectations for holiday results in Canada, given the weak sales momentum of most retailers exiting 3Q and the late arrival of winter weather in the key population centres of Toronto and Montreal. Winter outerwear, apparel and footwear, as well as seasonal products such as snow blowers, are important components in the achievement of a healthy overall December sales result,” Howlett wrote in a note to investors.
Marketing analyst Len Kubas of KubasPrimedia said the Bay didn’t fare badly, considering what consumers were facing in December: a housing slowdown in Canada and concerns that the fiscal cliff in the U.S. would trigger more economic turmoil.
He said retailers like the Bay are also facing increasing competition from Canadian online competitors including BeyondTheRack.com, a Montreal-based fashion retailing juggernaut that hopes to post $ 200-million in revenue in 2013, and ThePeacockParade.com.
November 2012 was the first year Canadian retailers heavily promoted Black Friday sales, which have become a tradition in the U.S., falling on the day after U.S. Thanksgiving.
Atkinson said the same-store sales increases at the Bay seem pretty good, all things considered.