Genesco Sales Took a Hit During the Holidays, But January Is ‘Off to a Strong Start’

Sales at Genesco Inc. took a slight downturn — yet remained above the company’s expectations — as the company faced headwinds from temporary store closures amid a pandemic-impacted holiday shopping environment.

The Nashville, Tenn.-based retail group announced today that comps — including both stores and direct sales — declined 3% for the quarter-to-date period ended Dec. 26. Same-store sales fell 14%, while its e-commerce business recorded a 49% gain. (The results do not count stores that were closed for seven consecutive days or more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

By brand, Genesco reported a 4% drop in Journeys’ comparable sales, while Johnston & Murphy recorded a 34% decrease. Schuh, on the other hand, saw a 29% gain in comps.

“Overall, our performance this holiday selling season was very encouraging given the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic with sales coming in above our expectations,” board chair, president and CEO Mimi Vaughn said in a statement. “Journeys once again led the way with strong full-price selling, and we were pleased that Schuh delivered better-than-expected results, especially as the business continues to face significant mandated store closures.”

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In early December, following the release of its third-quarter financial report, Genesco shared that traffic was “more subdued than usual” during the all-important Black Friday weekend. A number of the company’s units at the time, particularly in certain parts of North America and the United Kingdom, were facing yet another round of government-mandated shutdowns.

According to the retail group, its brick-and-mortar fleet was open for approximately 90% of November and December, with Schuh’s locations operating for only roughly 50% of the period.

Overall, Genesco’s sales for the quarter fell by 8%. While total store sales tumbled 21%, its direct sales advanced 48%. At Journeys and Schuh, sales dipped a respective 5% and 9%. However, Johnston & Murphy was down 38% in sales. The company’s licensed brands division also noted a 201% sales uptick.

Vaughn expressed confidence in the year ahead, adding that “fiscal January is off to a strong start with comps turning nicely positive, providing us with optimism for a solid finish to fiscal 2021.” At market open, its stock was up 0.4% to $32.34.

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