US: Toys R Us reports December sales rise

Toys R Us sales up in December, helped by online sales, while overall Christmas sales fell.
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The retailer’s US division reported a comparable store sales increase of 1.9 percent. On average, US retailers’ December sales fell an average of 1.7 per cent.

The retailer attributed much of December’s success to strong online sales, which accounted for one per cent of the rise.

Despite a strong December, overall sales for the nine-week 2008 Christmas season, (November 2nd 2008 to January 3rd 2009), decreased by 3.4 per cent. The fall was blamed partly on the overall economic climate and the late start of the season, which contributed to slow sales earlier in November.

Jerry Storch, TRU’s chairman and CEO said: “We believe these December results demonstrate the effectiveness of our strategy, as well as the resilience and vitality of our brand. Especially in this unprecedented economic environment, we were happy to see families come to our toy and baby stores, and shop online, to find holiday gifts for their children.”

The Toys “R” Us International division reported a comparable store sales decline of 4.9 per cent for December and a 5.1 per cent slip for the nine-week Christmas period.

Commenting on its international business, TRU said: “Economic conditions varied around the world, with relative strength in Canada and Central Europe offset by declines in Japan and the UK, the latter of which was also impacted by the liquidation of a major competitor [Woolworth’s].”

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