January 10, 2002, 12:00 AM

E-commerce holiday sales rise at the Spiegel Group but fall at J.C. Penney

Penney’s comparable store sales increased 5.4% while web sales fell 4.5% in December. For the year, Penney`s web sales grew 11.4%. Spiegel Group`s December sales overall fell 17% while e-comerce sales grew 20%.

December was a tough month for retail across the board. Among the retailers reporting holiday results this week, J.C. Penney today said e-commerce sales for the five weeks ended December 29 dropped to $62 million from $65 million a year ago. Year to date, however, Penney’s web sales have increased to $302 million from $271 million last year. Overall, comparable store sales rose 5.4% for the holiday over last year, while catalog and e-commerce sales combined decreased 20.1% to $465 million for the holiday from $582 million a year ago. The company, which had expected a drop, said declining catalog sales reflect the elimination of catalog participation in retail promotional events as well as the impact of a highly promotional retail environment.

At the Spiegel Group, e-commerce sales rose 20% for the five-week holiday period. While Spiegel didn’t report the dollar volume of e-commerce sales, the increase was some of the only good news in holiday and year-end results that were down across the board. The Spiegel Group, whose retail businesses include Eddie Bauer, Newport News and Spiegel stores, catalogs and e-commerce sites, reported that overall, holiday sales dropped to $447 million this year from $537 million last year, a decline of 17%. For the year, sales dropped 9% to $2.8 billion from $3.06 billion last year. By division, holiday sales dropped 18% at Eddie Bauer, 30% at Newport News, and 8% at Spiegel. For the year, sales declined 9% at Eddie Bauer, 6% at Newport News and 12% at Spiegel. Total direct sales declined 16% and the group`s retail store sales dropped 17%.


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