New York City A late Labor Day and delayed back-to-school spending offered some relief to merchants in September, helping to boost sales above Wall Street expectations. Still, most stores posted sales declines -- though smaller than in recent months -- as consumers focused on necessities amid job worries and tight credit.
According to Thomson Reuters, about 80% of the retailers that reported their monthly same-stores sales results as of 7 a.m. (New York time), have topped average analysts' estimates for monthly sales. Several merchants, including J.C. Penney, American Eagle Outfitters and TJX Cos. raised their profit outlook based on their better-than-expected performance.
In the apparel sector, Aeropostale continued to outshine the competition, with a 19% jump in same-store sales. The results easily beat Wall Street's expectations of a 12.4% increase. Aeropostale's CEO Julian R. Geiger, who is stepping down by the end of the fiscal year, credited the strong sales to good product assortment, as well as promotions.
Gap, dragged down by sluggish sales at its namesake stores and Banana Republic, posted a 1% sales decline, a bit worse than the 0.4% dip that analysts had expected. But its lower-price Old Navy division continued to shine, posting a 13% gain in same-store sales.
Other apparel retailers posting same-store sales results for September include: