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Most retailers announced April same-store sales Thursday. According to Thomson Financial, 79% of them missed expectations. We'll start with the winners:

  • Costco same-store sales rose 7% vs. analyst estimates of 6.3%. U.S. sales were up 6% while international sales gained 10%. Total sales rose 12% to $4.94 billion. The company said the month's one extra day gave sales a 2% lift.
  • Saks Inc. sales at stores open one year jumped 11.7%, vs. estimates of 6.7%. Total sales gained 13.1% to $281 million. The company said almost all its merchandise performed well.
  • Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. same-store sales jumped 7.3%, vs. a projected gain of 0.7%.
  • Nordstrom Inc. same-store sales rose 3.1%, vs. analyst estimates of an 4.2% gain. Total sales were up from $585 million to $604 million.
  • WalMart Inc. same-store sales dropped 3.5% in April, vs. analyst estimates of a 1.1% drop. Total sales rose from $25.63 billion to $26.57 billion. Sam's Club same-store sales gained 2.5%, in-line with analyst estimates. Net of Sam's Club gains, WalMart same-store sales actually fell 4.6% for the month. The company said cold weather hurt sales. It sees 1-2% gains in May.
  • Gap same-store sales fell 16%, vs. analyst estimates of -7.1%. Total sales fell 11% to $1.09b. The company said merchandise margins were down because of clearance selling at Gap stores. It forecast Q1 EPS of $0.23-0.25; analysts had been calling for $0.24.
  • Target Corp. same-store sales fell 6.1%. Net sales fell 1.8% to $3.9b. It said it still sees EPS on the year on target at $3.60.
  • Limited Brands Inc. same-store sales dropped 1%, vs. estimates of a 0.6% drop. Total sales climbed from $653m to $688m.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch same-store sales fell 15%, vs. estimates of 4.7%. It forecast Q1 EPS of $0.64-0.65, saying, ""Despite difficult selling conditions, the company expects to achieve its projected growth primarily through prudent expense management."
  • Federated Department Stores same-store sales fell 2.2%, vs. consensus estimates of a 1.7% gain and its own forecast of 2.5-4%. Total sales fell 2.1% to $1.84 billion.
  • J.C. Penney Company Inc. sales at department stores open at least one year fell 4.7%, vs. analyst estimates of a 0.8% drop. Total sales dropped 2.7% to $1.13 billion. The company said apparel did comparatively well, while big ticket items were soft. It expects flat same-store sales for May.
  • Kohl's Corp. same-store sales fell 10.5% vs. an expected 6.6% drop. Total sales were up 11.8%. The company is comfortable with current EPS estimates of $0.62.
  • Pacific Sunwear same-store sales fell 16.5%, vs. analyst expectations of a 6.5% loss. Total sales fell to $79 million from $85 million. The company forecasts a Q1 EPS loss of $0.04-0.05, and a Q2 EPS loss of $0.18-0.20.
  • Bebe Stores Inc. same-store sales fell 6.5% vs. analyst estimates of -6.2%.
  • Claire's Stores Inc. sales at stores open at least one year fell 6%, vs. analyst estimates of a 2% drop. Total sales rose 1% to $105 million.
  • American Eagle Outfitters Inc. sales at stores open over one year dropped 10%, vs. analyst estimates of a 1.3% gain. It reiterated Q1 EPS forecasts of $0.34-0.35.
  • Sharper Image Corp. same-store sales fell 11%. Total sales tumbled 36% to $21 million. It is the company's 30th straight month in decline.
  • Aeropostale Inc. same-store sales fell 14%, vs. estimates of -2.5%. Net sales dropped 9.8% to $75m. The company boosted Q1 EPS forecasts to $0.24-0.25, up from $0.22-0.23.
  • Bon-Ton Stores same-store sales dropped 13.4%, vs. estimates of a 9.3% decrease. Total sales fell 13.7% to $212 million. The company called April's numbers 'disappointing,' especially for clothing.
  • AnnTaylor Stores sales at stores open at least a year fell 12.8%, vs. consensus estimates of 4% drop. Net sales dropped 6.2% to $200 million. The company reaffirmed full-year guidance of $2.15-2.25/share.
  • Family Dollar Stores same-store sales were down 4.9%, vs. estimates of -4%. Total sales fell 1.6% to $481 million. Sales of home products were up, while apparel and seasonals were soft.
  • Fred's Inc. same-store sales fell 2.5%, vs. estimates of a 0.4% gain. Total sales gained 1% to $127 million. The company said April sales were hurt by an early Easter, high gas prices, and cold weather.
  • Stein Mart Inc. same-store sales dropped 13.9%, vs. estimates of a 3.7% drop. Total sales fell from $124 million to $109 million. The company revised Q1 EPS estimates down to $0.17; analysts had been looking for $0.22.
  • BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. same-store sales fell 2.1%, vs. estimates of a 0.9% gain. Net sales were up 1.9% to $618 million.
  • Chico's FAS Inc. same-store sales fell 7.3%, vs. -0.6% anticipated.

Noting the "rampant misses and lowered earnings," Friedman Billings Ramsey analyst Adrienne Tennant said April will mostly be a 'throw-away month:' "We believe investors will give retailers the proverbial free pass." Retailers blamed mitigating factors like weather, gas prices, and an early Easter. But analyst Jennifer Black says there's more to it: "The overall product assortment was not compelling... Fashion trends continue to have had a mixed response with no real trend focus."

Sources: MarketWatch I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. (PSUN), bebe stores inc. (BEBE), Nordstrom Inc. (JWN), Claire's Stores Inc. (CLE), Limited Brands Inc. (LTD), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST), Saks Inc. (SKS), American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (AEOS), Sharper Image Corp. (SHRP), J.C. Penney Company Inc. (JCP), Federated Department Stores Inc. (FD), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF), Aeropostale Inc. (ARO), Bon-Ton Stores Inc. (BONT), Target Corp. (TGT), Kohl's Corp. (KSS), AnnTaylor Stores Corp. (ANN), Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO), Fred's Inc. (FRED), Stein Mart Inc. (SMRT), BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. (BJ), Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. (JOSB), Chico's FAS Inc. (CHS)

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Source: April Same-Store Sales Roundup