Retail Sales Reports Give Investors Jitters


We've already noted the weak holiday sales report from Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) out this morning. Now two more specialty retailers, American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (NYSE: AEO) and Aeropostale Inc. (NYSE: ARO), have posted sales numbers for the period, and the situation has not improved much.

American Eagle reported same-store sales up 5% for the quarter to date, compared with a gain of 13% in the same period a year ago. Excluding online sales, sales increased just 1%, compared with a 12% increase excluding online sales last year.

At Aeropostale same-store sales fell 8% in the nine weeks to the end of December, and that includes online sales. Last year sales fell 9% excluding online sales.

American Eagle reiterated fourth-quarter earnings per share (EPS) guidance of $0.56 and same-stores sales growth in the mid-single digits.

Aeropostale cut its quarterly EPS guidance from a previous range of $0.36 to $0.41 to a new range of $0.20 to $0.24.

A third specialty retailer, Ascena Retail Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA), which owns and operates Lane Bryant and Dress Barn stores, among other brands, also lowered guidance this morning. Ascena reported 1% same-store sales growth for the November-December period, including online sales, forcing it to lower EPS guidance from a prior range of $1.45 to $1.55 to a new range of $1.20 to $1.30.

Shares of American Eagle are down about 3.5% at $19.90 in premarket trading, in a 52-week range of $12.86 to $23.94.

Aeropostale stock is down 9.9% at $12.05 in a 52-week range of $11.76 to $23.05.

Ascena shares are down 11.7% at $16.0o, a new 52-week low if it holds. The current 52-week range is $16.58 to $22.62.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Consumer Goods, Earnings Warning, Retail Tagged: AEO, ARO, ASNA, TIF