Apparel retailers see gains during a warm February

New York City -- Most apparel retailers topped Wall Street estimates in February, as rising temperatures boosted sales, while increased consumer confidence and Valentine’s Day also helped boost spending, according to the Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales Index.

The Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales Index, which tracks 21 companies reporting Wednesday and Thursday, is expected to rise 4.8%, beating last year’s 4% advance. Big winners in February included Limited Brands, as the operator of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works reported a same-store sales rise of 8%, beating Wall Street’s expected 6.2% gain.

Gap Inc. surprised on Thursday, reported a 4% same-store sales rise in February, above analysts’ expected 1.4% drop. By banner, same-store sales rose 12% at Banana Republic, 5% at Old Navy and 1% at namesake stores. Total sales rose 7% to $874 million.

Zumiez and The Buckle posted stellar results among the specialty apparel category as well. Zumiez saw same-store sales rise 14.2%, tromping an expected 5.1% gain. The Buckle recorded a 14.8% same-store sales gain, easily beating expectations, and demonstrating strong demand for denim, said the company.

Also during the month, Wet Seal same-store sales fell 5.8%, but still beat Wall Street expectations of a 9% decline.

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