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.
Department store results mixed in May
New York — When Macy’s reported a 4.2% May same-store sales gain on Wednesday, ahead of the rest of the pack, analysts wondered whether that would set the tone for the rest of the department store players. It did — and it didn’t.
Macy’s outpaced the 4% gain predicted by Wall Street, citing online strength as a major reason for the strong performance, but Kohl’s saw a wider than expected drop in same-store sales. The department store retailer posted a 4.2% decrease in May, worse than analysts’ predicted 1.2% drop. According to CEO Kevin Mansell, the May results will likely set the tone for the upcoming quarter.
“May sales were lower than our expectations and, as a result, we now expect second quarter comparable store sales to be modestly negative,” he said. “We made some progress in building our inventory levels, but continue to expect lower units to hinder our sales until the Back-to-School season.”
Among other department store results:
Nordstrom reported a 5.3% increase in May same-store sales, beating the forecasted 4.7% rise;
Saks also beat Wall Street estimates, recording a 4% May increase despite the 2.5% projected rise;
Bon-Ton same-store sales rose 1.5% in May.
Neither J.C. Penney nor Sears Holdings report monthly sales.
Target beats, Costco disappoints in the discount sector
New York — Target and TJX Cos. both reported better-than-expected results in May, with a 4.4% and an 8% increase in same-store sales, respectively. Wall Street expected Target same-store sales to be up 3.5% in May and forecasted TJX sales to rise 5.3%.
TJX’s strong performance in May even prompted the company to raise its forecast to the high end of its previous earnings estimate. And Target saw strength from such categories as food, clothing and health supplies, which helped push results to high end of the retailer’s expected range. “We’re confident that Target is well-positioned to continue delivering a superior guest experience and strong financial performance for many years to come,” said Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel. Total sales for the four weeks ended May 26 rose 5% to $5.04 billion.
But not all chains outdid expectations. Costco Wholesale reported a same-store sales rise of 4%, missing the 4.3% that analysts forecasted. According to the company, results were negatively impacted by deflation in gasoline prices and foreign currencies.
Among other discounters’ results in May:
- Ross was up 8%;
- SteinMart was up 3%;
- Cato May same-store sales rose 3%;
- Stage was up 8%; and
- Fred’s edged up 1.3%.