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The Buckle, Aeropostale Lead Specialty Apparel Retailers in September

New York City The nation's specialty-apparel retailers reported dismal sales for September as the financial meltdown took its toll on shoppers. However, there were some notable exceptions to the trend. The Buckle Inc. on Thursday said September same-store sales rose 19.7%. For the five-week period ended Oct. 4, total sales rose 26% to $72.8 million.

In another bright spot, Aeropostale Inc. said its same-store sales rose 5% in September, ahead of Wall Street's expectations. Year-to-date, same-store sales rose 24.9% and total sales rose 32% to $480.4 million.

Other retailers did not fare so well. The chains reporting a downturn in same-store sales in September included:

Hot Topic Inc. said same-store sales fell 1.8% in September, a smaller drop than analysts were expecting.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast a 4.3% decline in same-store sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 4.

Stage Stores Inc. said Thursday that September same-store sales declined 13.6%, and the company said it will miss third-quarter guidance 'significantly' due to the sales shortfall and hurricanes.

Chico's FAS Inc. said Thursday that its September same-store sales fell 15.6%. Analysts, on average, had expected same-store sales to decline 18.5%, according to Thomson Reuters. Net sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 4 fell 9.3% to $159.5 million.

Cato Corp. said Thursday same-store sales fell 3% in September because of a slowdown in consumer spending and hurricanes in the Gulf Coast.

Zumiez Inc. said that its same-store sales dropped a worse-than-expected 9% in September.

Total sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 4 slipped 2% to $64.8 million from $65.8 million. Year-to-date, same-store sales declined 1%.

Ross Stores reported sales of $561 million for the five weeks ended Oct. 4, a 5% increase over the same period last year. Same-store sales declined 2%.