Carter Hawley Hale Stores, recovering somewhat from October's Bay Area earthquake, said on Monday that its sales rose 4.7% during the four-week period that ended Saturday.
The Los Angeles company's announcement was the first official sales report for November from any of the nation's major retailers, but it shed little light on how well the Christmas shopping season is starting.
Carter Hawley officials declined to elaborate on the report, citing government restrictions on the information a company can release before issuing new securities.
The company has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue 3 million more shares of common stock, and the offering is expected to proceed perhaps as soon as this week.
Analysts, however, saw encouraging signs in the report by Carter Hawley, parent of such department store chains as the Broadway. Thomas H. Tashjian, an analyst with Seidler Amdec Securities, called the results "pretty good" given the softer sales in the Bay Area due to the earthquake. He added that the warm weather in California during most of November, which often prompts shoppers to delay their Christmas shopping, probably also dampened sales.
David V. Jackson, an analyst with the brokerage firm H. J. Meyers & Co., estimated that Carter Hawley's figures reflect sales increases of roughly 10% for the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, the traditional kickoff of the Christmas shopping season.
Carter Hawley's sales totaled $261.5 million during the most recent four-week reporting period. The company also reported that sales for the year so far amount to $2.11 billion, up 5.8% from a year earlier. In its year-to-year comparisons, Carter Hawley excluded last year's sales at its Oakland Emporium store, which has been closed since the Oct. 17 quake.
At stores open for more than a year, Carter Hawley's sales were up 4.1% in November and 5.4% over the past 11 months.
In trading on the New York Stock Exchange Monday, Carter Hawley's stock closed at $8.50, up 25 cents.