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 (NASDAQ:COST), Macy's (NYSE:M), Kohl's (NYSE:KSS), Saks (NYSE:SKS), Jos A. Bank (NASDAQ:JOSB) and Buckle (NYSE: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 (NYSE: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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