What are the odds that a retailer based in the southern U.S. would blame hurricanes for an unexpected loss last quarter? For those of you who love the old weather excuse, Saks
The Alabama-based retailer -- yeah, not much New York about this Fifth Avenue -- posted a surprise loss today, blaming the late summer's Gulf Coast hurricanes, among other things.
Last year's $0.09 per share was replaced by a big, negative $0.18 per share. Even if we strain out the $0.13-per-share charges for store closings, and even if we spot it the $0.03 per share blamed on the big blows, we're left with -$0.02 per share. That sum is sixpence worse than what analysts thought they'd see.
The problems started at the top line, where there was a slim 1% gain in sales. The Saks Fifth Avenue segment managed a 4.3% comps increase, but the department store group, comprising stores such as Younkers, Herberger's, and Carson Pirie Scott, put in a 2.6% decline. That pegged overall comps growth at 0.3%.
Not an impressive showing when other retailers -- from Wal-Mart
Here's the problem. In a time when there appears to be a fairly healthy retail rebound -- which some of us suspected was on the way despite the Street's October glooms -- Saks is forecasting more flat comps but slightly better times for the upscale Fifth Avenue segment. This has been a good time for luxury retailers, with the Coach
For related Foolishness:
- Is Coach a rule breaker?
- Betting against the common wisdom can be fun and profitable.
- See how Federated flew.
- It's been all downhill since I was skittish about Saks last spring.
Seth Jayson is a wicked cheapskate and most retailers' worst nightmare -- unless they sell funky bikes. At the time of publication, he had positions in no company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.
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