New Year to be soft for retailers


Coming out of a sluggish holiday season, the New Year doesn’t hold much promise for retailers when it comes to their same store sales, according to Prosper Technologies’ December ForecastIQ. Same store sales growth will likely be off over the next 75 days, although a repeat of last January’s plunge isn’t expected. Higher-priced retailers such as Abercrombie, Banana Republic and Neiman Marcus are almost certain to experience a decline. The forecasts for Nordstrom and American Eagle aren’t much better as both are likely to see a decline in same store sales.

The brightest prospects are still confined to discounters, off-price retailers and warehouse clubs as demand continues to be weak and consumers continue to pull back on spending. Retailers with a discount offering such as Ross, TJX and Aeropostale are almost certain to see an increase in same store sales through January, while warehouse clubs BJ’s and Costco are likely to see an increase. Buckle remains an anomaly as the only retailer with a higher price point tracked by ForecastIQ that is forecasted growth. However, its rate of predicted growth has leveled off considerably from its double digit forecast last year at this time.

“The retail landscape is stuck in the winter doldrums,” says Prof. Greg Allenby of the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University. “The picture hasn’t changed, and isn’t expected to change in the near future.”

A partial list of retailers covered in the ForecastIQ and expectations for same store sales growth/decline through February:


Almost certain to see increase: Almost certain to see decline:
Aeropostale Abercrombie & Fitch JC Penney
Buckle Banana Republic Neiman Marcus
Ross Bonton Saks
TJX Children’s Place Stage
  Dillard’s Steinmart
  Gap Wet Seal
  Hot Topic  

Likely to see increase Likely to see decline:
BJ’s Cato’s
Costco Fred’s
  Old Navy
  American Eagle