Zumiez’s Nov. 2009 Sales Results- A Couple of Comments

Yesterday, Zumiez reported that sales for the four week period ended November 28th, 2009 decreased 1.8% compared to the same period the previous year. For the same period, they reported that comparable store sales fell 8.5% compared to a decline of 15% in the same period the previous year.

In the first place, I want to suggest that paying attention to four week numbers may be fun, but it doesn’t really tell us anything about trends. It’s just not enough time.
Second, there are various attempts out there to position a decline of 8.5% in comparable store sales as a somehow positive result because last year they were down 15%. I’m not talking just about Zumiez here- it’s true for a variety of statistics and economic indicators. Be careful how you interpret that kind of analysis.
Finally, as I’ve been writing for a while, the focus should probably be on gross margin dollars in our new economy, which is another reason I think four week sales numbers are of limited value.
Zumiez has come out with their press release on the quarter that ended October 31, 2009 (On November 19) and has held a conference call. But as of today, the 10Q with the details and notes has not been filed. I’ll have more to say when I’ve seen that document.