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Saks Fifth Ave. posts strongest quarterly sales gain since 2013


Well-heeled shoppers are hoofing it to Saks Fifth Avenue.

The luxury department-store chain on Wednesday reported a 7.3-percent gain in its quarterly comparable sales — its strongest growth since the retailer was bought by Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay Co. in November 2013.

“The rich are getting richer, helped by the tax cuts and the stock market,” said retail consultant Steven Dennis.

Saks’ fortunes are closely tied to Wall Street’s performance, with its Big Apple flagship accounting for about 25 percent of department store’s sales, according to Dennis.

Business at its Dallas-based archrival Neiman Marcus, meanwhile, is more closely tied to the oil industry, swooning when its wealthy Texas-based customers get hit by tanking oil prices.

Saks’ growth comes amid concern that the luxury segment may be losing steam. Tiffany & Co., LVMH and Richemont recently blamed slowing sales growth on skittish Chinese tourists, who have pulled back on international shopping sprees as they face a slowing economy back home and uncertainty about a growing tariff war with the United States.

Saks’ strong performance made up for slower growth at HBC’s other name plates, including Lord & Taylor — which is closing its Manhattan flagship in January — and Saks Off 5th, where comparable sales declined 2.3 percent in the quarter.

Among the hottest sellers at the tony chain were handbags, menswear and outerwear, the company said.

Last month, upscale department store company Nordstrom disappointed investors with weaker-than-expected sales in the most recent quarter, in which comparable sales grew 2.4 percent, fueled by its off-price chain, Nordstrom Rack.

HBC’s shares increased by 5 percent on Wednesday, to C$9.49, on the Toronto Stock Exchange.



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