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Retailers report solid January sales despite winter deluge

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Many retailers reported solid January sales on Thursday, despite snowstorms that raged across the country during the month. On average, the retail sector reported same-store sales growth of 4.2%, according to Thomson Reuters, which far outpaced the average estimate of 2.7%, the group said.

The results, many of which surpassed Wall Street expectations, offer encouragement that the economic recovery is picking up speed.

"The early going looks good, despite the multiple snowstorms," Ken Perkins, president of research firm RetailMetrics LLC, said in an Associated Press report. "It’s encouraging, and you’re seeing other economic signs that things are turning around."

Costco Wholesale Corp, Victoria’s Secret parent Limited Brands and teen retailer Wet Seal were among those that beat analyst expectations. Target, however, lagged, behind.

In recent weeks, analysts had lowered expectations as a series of snowstorms in several parts of the country kept shoppers at home. But it appears that consumers persevered and did not let record snowfalls get in the way of their spending. .

Costco had a 10% gain in same-store sales, beating Thomson Reuters analysts’ expectations of a 7% gain. Target Corp.’s same-store sales edged up 1.7%, missing the 1.9% gain that Wall Street projected.

In the specialty apparel segment, Limited, boosted by its Victoria’s Secret division, reported a better-than-expected 24% gain in same-store revenue. Wall Street expected a 6.7% boost. Wet Seal reported a 6.2% gain, well surpassing the 4% decline that Wall Street anticipated.

Gap same-store sales in January rose 1%, solidly beating the 3.1% decline that Wall Street expected. The chain said its profit for the fiscal year just ended will come in higher than expected.

At The Buckle, same-store revenue rose 4.3%, missing the 5.7% gain expected from Wall Street.

In other news from the apparel category:

  • Hot Topic reported a decline of 3.3%
  • Zumiez had a 15% increase.
  • At Aeropostale, sales edged up 1%.
  • American Eagle reported a 6% decrease.
  • Cato’s same-store sales dropped 4%.

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Big Lots quarterly comps flat

BY CSA STAFF

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Big Lots announced that fourth quarter retail sales for the fiscal quarter ended Jan. 29 were $1.5 billion, an increase of 3.8% compared with $1.451.5 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.

Comparable-store sales were flat for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, which is consistent with the low end of the company’s previously communicated guidance of flat to an increase of 2%.

From a merchandising perspective, furniture, home, and seasonal were the best performing categories, the company reported.

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NDN 3Q comps down slightly

BY CSA STAFF

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — Ninety-nine Cents Only Stores reported that retail sales for the third quarter ended Dec. 25 increased by 1.5% to $354.1 million and same-store sales decreased 0.7%.

Consolidated net income increased by $2.1 million to $26.6 million, or 38 cents per diluted share, versus $24.5 million in the prior year, or 35 cents per diluted share

Eric Schiffer, CEO of Ninety-Nine Cents, stated, “We are pleased with our earnings for the third quarter of fiscal 2011. We have far exceeded all of the goals in our four-year profit improvement plan announced in February 2008. "

As previously announced, net consolidated sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2011 were $365.4 million, a 1.7% increase compared with net sales of $359.1 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2010.

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