Most retailers beat sales estimates in May

New York -- With only a few exceptions, retailers are posting solid gains in May, with such chains as Target, TJX, Ross and TJX Cos. beating Wall Street forecasts for the month. The Thomson Reuters Same-Store Index, which tracks the stores that release monthly sales reports, is expected to rise 3.6% in May.

"Analysts are taking a careful approach to May same-store sales given the cautious tone issued by most retailers on second-quarter earnings guidance," said Ken Perkins of Retail Metrics, in a research report.

Despite the caution, analysts are spotlighting some unexpected stars in the specialty store arena. The Limited saw same-store sales rise 6% in May, beating the forecasted 4.7% rise. Zumiez same-store sales surged 13.7%, beating the 6.6% expected rise and marking the ninth consecutive month the specialty retailer has beaten Wall Street estimates.

Gap’s comps were up 2%, but missed the forecasted 3.1% rise. CEO Glenn Murphy said in a statement that customers had reacted favorably to summer clothing. Last year at this time, Gap recorded a 4% decline in same-store sales.

In North America, Gap’s Old Navy banner was the company's only chain to report a decline in same-store sales, losing 1%. Gap's rose 6%, and Banana Republic posted an 8% rise, both reversing declines they recorded a year ago.

Teen apparel retailer Buckle surprised with only a slight 0.2% bump in same-store sales, missing the estimated 3.3% gain.

Among other specialty retailers, same-store sales fell 8.8% at Wet Seal, a wider decline than the 8.3% drop analysts were expecting.

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