January 3, 2013 / 3:08 PM / in 6 years

Hudson's Bay same-store sales growth slows; Reitmans slides

TORONTO (Reuters) - Hudson’s Bay Co (HBC.TO) said on Thursday sales growth in its established department store chains slowed during the two months including the holiday shopping season, while shares of Reitmans Canada Inc (RET.TO) dropped after the apparel retailer reported lower sales.

A Hudson's Bay Company sign is seen on a store in downtown Ottawa July 16, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

HBC, which operates Hudson’s Bay in Canada and Lord & Taylor in the United States, warned in December that Superstorm Sandy would weigh on sales, as the storm forced 80 percent of Lord & Taylor stores to close or cut their hours.

For the nine weeks ended December 29, consolidated same-store sales rose 1.9 percent, compared with 7.5 percent growth a year earlier. Excluding the impact of the storm, same-store sales would have increased 3.7 percent, the company said.

At Reitmans, overall sales fell 5.4 percent in the five weeks ended December 29, while sales at established stores, a key measure for retailers, fell 3.4 percent. For the nine weeks to December 29, total sales fell 5.0 percent and same-store sales were 2.4 percent lower, the company said late on Wednesday.

At HBC, same-store sales fell 4.4 percent at Lord & Taylor, and rose 6.7 percent at Hudson’s Bay. The figures include sales at locations open at least 13 months as well as online and clearance store sales. Total retail sales rose 2.3 percent to C$1.11 billion.

The report came as U.S. retailers posted December sales figures. Some major players had a tough month as consumers were cautious in their holiday spending.

Macy’s Inc (M.N) said same-store sales rose 4.1 percent in December, just above the 4.0 percent analysts had expected on average, but the department store chain lowered its fourth-quarter sales and profit forecasts.

Shares of HBC have languished below their offer price in the company’s November initial public offering, partly on fears that its Canadian business could stumble once Target Corp (TGT.N) opens its first stores north of the border in the spring.

Montreal-based Reitmans has more than 900 locations across Canada that sell women’s apparel under banners that include Smart Set, Addition Elle and Thyme Maternity. Last year it made its first move into the U.S. market, opening 146 Thyme boutiques inside Toys R Us Inc’s TOYS.N Babies R Us stores.

Reitmans’ shares fell 2.5 percent to C$11.63 in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

HBC, which has seen very thin volume since its first few trading days, was unchanged at C$16.50 in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Nick Zieminski

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