Top 5 and Bottom 5 Retailers of Q1 2013

By Nicole Giannopoulos — July 02, 2013

Recently, many of the nation's largest retailers released their financial results for the first quarter of 2013. Some companies started the year off strong, while some will have to ramp up through the year in an attempt to make up for losses. Companies including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Cabela's, Urban Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch were among those reporting both great gains and great losses. Overall, the Q1 financial results show that the tables have turned for some retailers.
 
While all the retailers that made the Top 5 demonstrated double-digit revenue growth, some have slipped from the top rankings. On the negative side, JCPenney led the Bottom 5, with more than 7 percentage points separating it from the second lowest-ranking retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (up 11% in Q4 2012), which recently faced a social media backlash due to its CEO's comments.
 
RIS News has gathered data on the net sales revenues for nearly 50 retailers in a range of verticals and compared them with the figures for the same quarter in 2012, measuring the percentage change between them. Using this calculation, RIS has determined the top five and bottom five retailers in terms of percentage revenue change for Q1 2013:
 
Top 5 Retailers of Q1 (based on net sales for Q1 2013 compared to Q1 2012):
Cabela's                               +28.7%
Amazon                               +22%
Lululemon Athletica              +21%
Family Dollar                       +17.7%
Urban Outfitters                   +14%
 
Amazon began the fiscal year strong with a positive outlook after a 22% increase, generating revenues of $16.07 billion. Lululemon ranked third with a 21% increase and Family Dollar took fourth with a 17.7% increase, establishing their ranking in the Top 5. This quarter, Cabela's led the Top 5 with a 28.7% increase, reporting revenues of $802.5 million.
 
"We are extremely pleased with our strong first quarter results and our ability to increase sales and margin while controlling costs," said Tommy Millner, Cabela's CEO in a statement. "Our Retail stores are performing at very high levels, and our Direct business is starting to show real improvement. As a result, we expect our performance in the first quarter to flow through to our full year results, and we are comfortable with the current quarterly breakdown of external earnings estimates for 2013."
 
Of the nearly 50 retailers data was gathered on, 35 reported positive gains for the second quarter. Among those that reported significant sales increases and just missed the Top 5 were Rue21 (9.1%), Tiffany & Co. (9%), Dollar Tree (8.3%) and Build-A-Bear and Ross Stores (8%). Other retailers that are no stranger to the Top 5 include DSW (7.7%), Deckers Outdoor (7.1%) and TJX Companies (7%).
 
Bottom 5 Retailers of Q1 (based on net sales for Q1 2013 compared to Q1 2012):
JCPenney                            -16.4%
Abercrombie & Fitch             -9%
Barnes & Noble                    -7.4%
Gamestop                            -6.8%
Guess?                                -5.2%
 
While 11 of the retailers researched showed negative results, the question is if those retailers can work some magic and make a comeback by year's end. Abercrombie & Fitch (-9%) recorded the second largest decrease in the Bottom 5 following its 11% increase in Q4 2012. While CEO Mike Jeffries attributes the decline to inventory shortages and "external pressures", the backlash to his comments are sure to have had an impact also.
 
"The first quarter proved to be more difficult than expected on the top-line due to more significant inventory shortage issues than anticipated, added to by external pressures," said Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries. "However, comparable sales trends progressively improved during the quarter and with the inventory headwinds largely behind us, we expect to see continued sequential improvement in the second quarter. We are also making good progress on our cross-functional initiatives, which we expect will generate substantial operating margin improvement on a sustainable, long-term basis."
 
No stranger to the Bottom 5, JCPenney ended Q1 with a loss of 16.4%, a significant improvement from Q4 2012's 28.45% loss. It's hard not to wonder – will returning CEO Mike Ullman be the turnaround that the retailer needs?
 
Mike Ullman, CEO of JCPenney said, "Our objective is to put JCPenney back on a path to profitable growth. To achieve this, over the past five weeks we have taken critical steps to stabilize the business, including improving our balance sheet and ensuring we have our senior leadership in place. With that accomplished, together our team is focused on developing and executing strategies to enable us to reconnect with our customer and improve traffic and sales, while operating with strong financial discipline."
 
For related content:
Top 5 and Bottom 5 Retailers of Q4 2012
Abercrombie CEO: Heated Response to 'Cool' Remarks
Top 5 and Bottom 5 Retailers of January 2013
Top 5 and Bottom 5 Retailers of Q3 2012
Top 5 and Bottom 5 of Q2 2012
Top 5 and Bottom 5 Retailers of Q1

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