Retail Sales for July Mixed in Early Reporting


Retailers are announcing July same-store sales figures today. Research firm Retail Metrics projects an overall gain of 4.1% year-over-year, compared with a 4.3% gain in June and a 3.8% gain in May. Retail sales gained 2.5% in July of 2012.

Retail sales in July got a lift from the warmer weather, which drove sales higher heading into the important back-to-school season. Consumer confidence is around recent highs as both housing and equities markets continue to show robust growth. The U.S. economy looks somewhat better as job growth continues, and gasoline prices have moderated somewhat as well.

Many retailers no longer report monthly same-store sales. These include Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M), Kohl's Corp. (NYSE: KSS), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (NYSE: AEO).

Here's a rundown so far this morning:

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) reported that same-store sales, including gasoline, for July rose 4% compared with the same month in 2012. That is below the Retail Metrics estimate for a gain of 4.8%, including gasoline sales.

L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD) said same-store sales for July rose 3% compared with last year. Retail Metrics estimated a rise of 1.5%. The company, which owns Victoria's Secret and other brands, also boosted its earnings per share guidance for its fiscal second quarter from a range of $0.50 to $0.55 to a new level of about $0.60.

Buckle Inc. (NYSE: BKE) reported same-store sales for July rose 2.1% compared with the same period a year ago. The Retail Metrics estimate called for a rise of 2.6%. A year ago, Buckle reported a same-store sales fell 0.1%.

Stein Mart Inc. (NASDAQ: SMRT) reported a 3.7% rise in same-store sales for July, above the 2.7% estimate from Retail Metrics. In July of last year, sales rose 2.8%.

Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ: ZUMZ) posted a same-stores sales rise of 0.8% for July, well below the 1.7% increase expected by Retail Metrics. In July 2012, the teen apparel store's sales jumped 7.5%.

Costco shares closed at $119.34 last night, in a 52-week range of $93.51 to $120.20, and are inactive this morning.

L Brands' shares are up 3% this morning to $59.00, above the stock's 52-week range of $42.49 to $58.69.

Stein Mart's shares closed at $13.27 last night, down 3.3% for the day, in a 52-week range of $6.56 to $15.21.

Zumiez's shares closed down 2.7% yesterday, at $27.00 in a 52-week range of $17.93 to $36.02.

Buckle's shares closed down 1.9% at $53.79 last night, in a 52-week range of $37.76 to $57.68.

Filed under: Retail Tagged: AEO, ANF, BKE, COST, KSS, LTD, M, SMRT, TGT, WMT, ZUMZ