Retailers reported November same-store sales Thursday. Results were mixed, following two straight months of unusually weak sales growth and estimate misses. More seasonal temperatures and an extra-week of post-Thanksgiving shopping help prop up results for some firms. Conversely, high gas prices continued to plague shoppers, making shopping trips more expensive and eroding consumer confidence. Estimate-missers said economic concerns also hurt sales.
More than half of retailers missed analyst estimates, but strong beats by Costco (COST), Macy's (M), Kohl's (KSS), Saks (SKS), Jos A. Bank (JOSB) and Buckle (BKE) allowed the group to post a collective 2.4% beat. Collective net sales gained a strong 10.4% over the month. In October comps fell 0.2% and net sales gained 4.8%.
Much-watched Wal-Mart (WMT) reported a 1.9% increase in U.S. same-store sales, or 1.5% excluding fuel. Comps at its namesake stores were up 1.2%, while Sam's Club comps were up 3%. The company had projected U.S. same-store sales to be flat to up 2%. Groceries and pharmacy sales led the way; home-related goods sales continued to be weak. Wal-Mart said Black Friday sales were "very solid."
Costco posted a stronger-than-expected 9% jump in November same-store sales (full story), including a 21% jump in international comps.
Saks continued to blast by analyst estimates, more than doubling forecasts of 12.2% with a 25.7% increase.
The Thomson Financial Same-Store Sales Index was forecast to increase 3.3%, following a 1.4% gain in September, a three-year low, and 1.6% in October. Discounters were forecast to post the strongest results. Department stores were expected to rebound following an extended period of weak sales. Teen retailers were projected to have modest sales gains; they largely disappointed.
An S&P survey released Thursday said analysts are "cautiously optimistic" that consumer spending by Americans will grow this holiday season despite an economic downturn. A majority of the 1,100 respondents said they do not plan to reduce holiday spending from last year, and only 18% said they expect their financial position to deteriorate over the next six months (full story).
In the following table, arrows indicate whether a retailer beat (up), missed (down) or was in-line with analyst expectations. Analyst estimates, where available, are based on Reuters and Thomson surveys.
Commentary: October Same-Store Sales Comprehensive Roundup • September Same-Store Sales Comprehensive Roundup
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