Monday, February 07, 2005

Comp-store blog.

Since I write a good deal about retail for a living, and that includes restaurants, visiting a new chain restaurant is now partly a professional duty, though not enough of one to be reimbursed for it—I could, and do, write about chains and concepts I’ve never experienced. And sometimes, I write about places I’d never heard of till I got the assignment, but they tend to be trendish clothes shops, not restaurants. I’d never heard of Wet Seal, for instance, till it appeared in the pages of, but since it’s a clothier catering to teen girls, no wonder. Also, it’s a West Coast chain. Only the behemoths are truly national; a lot of chains are still regional, or multiregional.

Teen girls are fickle, incidentally. Wet Seal has had a tough go of it lately. What kind of name is that, anyway? Seals are usually naked, aren’t they?

I’ve also come to understand why average “comp-store” or “same-store” sales are so important in the retail realm. (Comp = comparable in this case.) Any fool of a company can puff up its net sales by opening more stores, but if you measure the difference in sales among stores that have been open for a year or more—this fourth quarter compared to last year’s fourth quarter, for example—then the sales picture is a good deal clearer. Either your established stores are selling more stuff, or they ain’t.

Oops, I meant to write about my experience over the weekend at the nation’s only Aztec restaurant chain, but that will have to wait.


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