Despite decent Thanksgiving weekend results,
offered disappointing sales news on Wednesday.
Department store operator Federated said same-store sales were down 7.4% in November. Meanwhile, total sales were down 5.8% to $1.473 billion from $1.564 billion in the year-ago period. Federated had previously forecast same-store sales for November and December to be flat to down 2.5%. The company said it could achieve the low end of that guidance, if December sales are flat.
"It is difficult to forecast December sales on the basis of what we have seen in November because while Thanksgiving weekend was strong, sales earlier in the month were weaker than expected," said Federated's chief executive, James Zimmerman, in a statement. "Therefore, at this point, we are anticipating sales at the lower end of our expectations for the combined November-December holiday period."
Meanwhile, Office Depot said that fourth-quarter sales remain below expectations. But the retailer said it is comfortable with consensus estimates for earnings of 22 cents a share for the quarter, as a result of continued improvement in gross margins and tight control over expenses.
"Sales for October were disappointing, and the month of November, until Thanksgiving, did not improve substantially," said Office Depot's CEO, Bruce Nelson, in a statement. "Last week we had a strong holiday weekend but remain cautious regarding the outlook for December."
In recent trading, Federated was off 3.4% at $30.89, while Office Depot was down 12% at $15.28.