September General Retail: Cold Comfort
High energy prices and two tempests named Katrina and Rita boosted
sales at mass merchandisers in September but had a varied effect on
department, luxury and specialty stores, many of which saw fewer customers than usual, according to monthly sales
reports from a range of general retailers.
Todd Slater of investment bank Lazard told the Wall Street Journal,
"The customer who's in charge of the budget--the soccer mom--is going
into a self-imposed spending slowdown in terms of apparel purchases.
These shoppers are concerned about their ability to manage through a
The New York Times noted that Wal-Mart has responded already by
cutting prices aggressively on certain toys, heralding a holiday season
of early and deep markdowns.
Consumers stormed warehouse clubs and discounters for supplies like
canned food, bottled water and batteries as well as for gasoline (many warehouse clubs sell gasoline). As a result, sales at
Costco outlets open at least a year rose 11% (8%, excluding gasoline).
At Target, same-store sales were up 5.6% while at Wal-Mart they rose
Department store results were mixed. Neiman Marcus sales at stores open
at least a year were up 9.6% and Nordstrom comp-store sales rose 4.1%.
But Federated Department Stores's sales at stores open a year rose just
1.3% and J.C. Penney was up 1.4%.
Some specialty stores had dismal Septembers. Talbots comp-store sales
fell 5.1%. The company said that a decline in customer traffic,
particularly toward the end of the month, hurt sales. Likewise Ann
Taylor comp-store sales dropped 2.7%, in large part because of a "low
double-digit" decrease in store traffic. In addition, unseasonably warm
weather hurts sales of cold weather clothing.
Teens still found their way to stores--and ways to spend.
Abercrombie & Fitch comp-store sales were up 21% and American Eagle
Outfitters was up 13%. Denim is all the rage.
Oprah's 'Live Author' Pick Hits a Cool Million
Roll over, Beethoven, and tell Faulkner the news. . .
Anchor Books happily announced yesterday that after going back to press yet again, it has one million copies in print of A Million Little Pieces
by James Frey, Oprah's book club selection two weeks ago. The book is
No. 1 on a variety of bestseller lists. (See the Book Sense/NEBA list
below, for example.)
"Sales in these first two weeks have met and, in many instances,
exceeded the early sales of our previous bestselling Oprah's Book Club
selections," Anne Messitte, v-p and publisher of Vintage and Anchor
Books, said in a statement.
Besides Oprah's continuing power of persuasion and the lure of a "live author," apparently this book's market is huge.
"We're witnessing the response to a book that
reaches out to a very broad readership of both women and men, and to
the entire community that's dealing with addiction and recovery," Messitte added.
Before Oprah picked A Million Little Pieces, just 150,000 copies of it were in print.
Media Heat: Magical Mystery Tours
Today is a kind of John Lennon Remembered day:
This morning the Early Show unveils Larry Kane, author of Lennon Revealed (Running Press, $29.95, 0762425237, including a CD).
This afternoon the View shines the spotlight on Cynthia Lennon, author of John (Crown, $25.95, 030733855X).
Today Nick Malgieri
tours on the Early Show. His new book is Baker's Tour
(Harper Collins, $34.95, 0060582634).
Today the Today Show tries on Jennifer Weiner
, author of In Her Shoes
(Washington Square Press, $14, 0743267117). The movie adaptation opens
today, and has received some rave reviews. The New York Times
praised director Curtis Hanson, who, it said, "wrests a richly textured
story of love from a seemingly unlikely source." And the Wall Street Journal
called it "a case of solid emotional content trumping conventional
form" and said the film is "improbably but consistently affecting."
Today on Good Morning America, Emeril Lagasse
offers a tantalizing
morsel of his new book, Emeril's Delmonico: A Restaurant with a Past
about the famous New Orleans restaurant (Morrow Cookbooks, $29.95,
0060740469). The book was released Tuesday.
This morning Jillian Michaels
, author of Winning by Losing: Drop the Weight, Change Your Life
(Collins, $24.95, 0060845465), dropped by Imus in the Morning.
appears today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show to discuss his new book, 1491
(Knopf, $30, 140004006X).
Tonight Larry King Live hosts Carole Radziwill
, widow of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s cousin and author of What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love
(Scribner, $25.95, 0743276949).
The Book Sense/NEBA List
The following were the bestselling titles at New England Booksellers
Association stores during the week ended Sunday, October 2, as reported
to Book Sense.
1. The March by E. L. Doctorow (Random House, $25.95, 0375506713)
2. On Beauty by Zadie Smith (Penguin, $25.95, 1594200637)
3. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (Delacorte, $28, 0385324162)
4. Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire (ReganBooks, $26.95, 0060548932)
5. School Days by Robert B. Parker (Putnam, $24.95, 0399153233)
6. Slow Man by J. M. Coetzee (Viking, $24.95, 0670034592)
7. Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon, $21.95, 0375422994)
8. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (Morrow, $26.95, 006051518X)
9. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking, $24.95, 0670033944)
10. The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant (Scribner, $25, 0743225732)
11. Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner (Atria, $26, 0743470117)
12. The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins, $25.95, 0060515104)
13. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (Little, Brown, $25.95, 0316011770)
14. The Divide by Nicholas Evans (Putnam, $26.95, 0399152067)
15. The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks (Warner, $24.95, 0446500127)
1. The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt (Penguin, $25.95, 1594200580)
2. 1776 by David McCullough (S&S, $32, 0743226712)
3. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Morrow, $25.95, 006073132X)
4. The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman (FSG, $27.50, 0374292884)
5. The Tender Bar by J. R. Moehringer (Hyperion, $23.95, 1401300642)
6. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, $25.95, 0316172324)
7. What Remains by Carole Radziwill (Scribner, $25.95, 0743276949)
8. Symptoms of Withdrawal by Christopher Kennedy Lawford (Morrow, $25.95, 0060732482)
9. On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt (Princeton, $9.95, 0691122946)
10. Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About by Kevin Trudeau (Alliance, $29.95, 0975599518)
11. Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda (Random House, $24.95, 1400064090)
12. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell (Little, Brown, $23.95, 031610969X)
13. Recipes from a Very Small Island by Linda Greenlaw and Martha Greenlaw (Hyperion, $25.95, 1401300731)
14. My Detachment by Tracy Kidder (Random House, $24.95, 0375506152)
15. A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (Seven Stories, $23.95, 158322713X)
Trade Paperback Fiction
1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $14, 1594480001)
2. Light on Snow by Anita Shreve (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316010677)
3. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (Washington Square, $14, 0743454537)
4. The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (Vintage, $14.95, 1400079497)
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Vintage, $12.95, 1400032717)
6. Snow by Orhan Pamuk (Vintage, $14.95, 0375706860)
7. Wicked by Gregory Maguire (ReganBooks, $15, 0060987103)
8. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Penguin, $15, 0143034901)
9. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury, $15.95, 1582346038)
10. The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor, $12.95, 1400077095)
11. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Harvest, $14, 015602943X)
12. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin, $14, 0142001740)
13. I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe (Picador, $15, 0312424442)
14. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone, $16, 0743227441)
15. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (Perennial, $13.95, 0060529709)
Trade Paperback Nonfiction
1. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey (Anchor, $14.95, 0307276902)
2. Sudoku Easy to Hard edited by Will Shortz (St. Martin's, $6.95, 0312355033)
3. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (Random House, $14.95, 0812973011)
4. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Vintage, $14.95, 0375725601)
5. Why Do Men Have Nipples? by Mark Leyner, et al. (Three Rivers, $12.95, 1400082315)
6. Chronicles by Bob Dylan (S&S, $14, 0743244583)
7. Will in the World by Stephen J. Greenblatt (Norton, $14.95, 039332737X)
8. The Old Farmer's Almanac 2006 (Old Farmer's Almanac, $6.95, 1571983678)
9. Sudoku Easy, Volume 1 by Will Shortz (St. Martin's, $6.95, 0312355025)
10. Bad Dog by R. D. Rosen, et al. (Workman, $9.95, 0761139834)
11. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316346624)
12. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (Norton, $16.95, 0393317552)
13. Bad Cat by Jim Edgar (Workman, $9.95, 0761136193)
14. Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett (Perennial, $13.95, 0060572159)
15. Rand McNally Road Atlas 2006: U.S., Canada, Mexico (Rand McNally, $11.95, 0528957902)
1. Hour Game by David Baldacci (Warner, $7.99, 0446616494)
2. The Constant Gardener by John le Carre (Pocket, $7.99, 1416503900)
3. The Surrogate Thief by Archer Mayor (Warner, $6.99, 0446616605)
4. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason (Dell, $7.99, 0440241359)
5. London Bridges by James Patterson (Warner, $7.99, 0446613355)
6. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (Pocket, $7.99, 0671027360)
7. Twisted by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine, $7.99, 0345465261)
8. Northern Lights by Nora Roberts (Jove, $9.99, 0515139742)
9. Winter House by Carol O'Connell (Berkley, $7.99, 0425204650)
10. The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston, M.D. (St. Martin's, $7.99, 0312991193)
Children's (Fiction and Illustrated)
1. Eldest by Christopher Paolini (Knopf, $21, 037582670X)
2. Inkspell by Cornelia Funke (Chicken House, $19.99, 0439554004)
3. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (Knopf, $9.95, 0375826696)
4. High Rhulain (Redwall #18) by Brian Jacques, illustrated by David Elliot (Philomel, $23.99, 0399242082)
5. Flush by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf, $16.95, 0375821821)
6. A Family of Poems by Caroline Kennedy, illustrated by Jon J. Muth (Hyperion, $19.95, 0786851112)
7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, $29.99, 0439784549)
8. The Invasion of the Boy Snatchers (The Clique #4) by Lisi Harrison (Little, Brown, $9.99, 0316701343)
9. Nothing Can Keep Us Together (Gossip Girl #8) by Cecily Von Ziegesar (Little, Brown, $9.99, 0316735094)
10. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (HarperCollins, $7.99, 0694003611)
11. Junie B., First Grader: Boo . . . and I Mean It! by Barbara Park,
illustrated by Denise Brunkus (Random House, $3.99, 0375828079)
12. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Scholastic, $7.99, 0439709105)
13. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, $6.99, 059035342X)
14. Junie B., First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does
May) by Barbara Park, illustrated by Denise Brunkus (Random House,
15. Season of the Sandstorms (Magic Tree House #34) by Mary Pope
Osborne, illustrated by Sal Murdocca (Random House, $11.95, 0375830316)
[Many thanks to NEBA, the ABA and Book Sense!]