Retailers could see a minor impact from the recent changes at Gmail that separate e-mails into categories and stuff more into the junk mail trash bin.
The effect is being felt more by "flash sites" which blast retail specials daily, but has also caught the eye of successful e-mail marketing giants such as Gap (GPS), Ann Taylor (ANN), and Urban Outfitters (URBN).
Retail analyst Hitha Prabhakar isn't buying the weather excuse from Ann (ANN +1.6%) after both the Ann Taylor and Loft brands put in a sluggish quarter. She thinks Ann was off-trend ("unwearable" and "frumpy") with its styles and needs to go back to the drawing board. Investors have been more forgiving and have bid up shares after Ann's lackluster results managed to beat expectations.
More on Ann's (ANN) Q1: The retailer says it became more promotional during the quarter due to the late start to the warm weather clothing season. Total comparable sales fell 0.5%, with the Ann Taylor brand up 1.9% and the Loft brand off 1.9%. For the full year, comparable store sales are expected to increase in the mid-single digits and total sales are pegged at $2.54B. ANN +2.3% premarket.(PR)