Retail Sales Figures Rise at Most Stores (COST, TGT, M, KSS, JWN, SKS, GPS, TJX, ROST, SSI, LTD, SMRT, WTSLA, BKE, ZUMZ)

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Retailers are reporting May same-store sales today and it looks like the predictions for modest growth are being realized. Research firm Retail Metrics Inc. forecast that same-store sales would grow by just 1.8%, although excluding drug stores hikes the growth rate to 3.7%. Retailers also have to contend with comparisons to May 2011, when sales jumped 5.5%.

So far this morning we have sales figures from Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST), Target Inc. (NYSE: TGT), Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M), Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS), Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN), Saks, Inc. (NYSE: SKS), Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS), The TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX), Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST), Stage Stores Inc. (NYSE: SSI), Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD), Stein Mart Inc. (NASDAQ: SMRT), Wet Seal Inc. (NASDAQ: WTSLA), Buckle Inc. (NYSE: BKE), and Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ: ZUMZ).

Costco reported same-store sales growth of 4%, compared with a Thomson/Reuters estimate of 4.3% growth. Total sales rose 7%, and same-store sales excluding gasoline and currency effects rose 6% in May.

Target reported same-store sales growth of 4.4%, well above the consensus estimate of 3.5%.

Macy’s same-store sales growth came in at 4.2%, against an estimate of 4% growth.

Kohl’s posted a same-store sales drop of -4.2%, much lower than the consensus drop of -1.2%. The company also said it expects second quarter same-store sales to be “modestly negative.” That has sent shares down about -4.8% in the first 10 minutes of trading this morning.

Nordstrom’s same-store sales rose 5.3%, versus an estimate of 4.7%.

Saks sales grew 4% compared with an estimate of 2.5%.

Gap stores reported same-store sales rose 2% in May, compared with an estimated gain of 3.1%.

TJX stores posted a same-store sales gain of 8%, compared with an estimate of 5.3%. The company now says that it expects EPS at the top end of its previously announced range of $0.47-$0.50. Analysts had been expecting EPS of $0.51, so TJX is not getting much of a share price bump.

Ross Stores grew sales 8% as well, much better than the estimated 5.3% growth. The company reiterated its forecasts for a same-store sales increase of 3%-4% in June and 2%-3% in July, “while we hope to do better.”

Stage Stores posted a same-store sales gain of 8%, much better than a forecast gain of 2.2%. This is the highest May increase in 10 years.

Limited Brands posted same-store sales growth of 6%, nicely above the estimate of 4.7%.

Stein Mart posted a higher-than-expected same-store sales gain of 3.1%, compared with the consensus estimate of 0.5%.

Wet Seal reported that same-store sales dropped by -8.8% in May, compared with an estimated decline of -8.3%. The company had the wrong mix at its stores and e-commerce sales fell -5%.

Buckle posted same-store sales growth of 0.2% in May, compared with an estimate of 3.3%. The company did not elaborate.

Zumiez reported same-store sales growth of 13.7% in May, compared with an estimate of 6.6% growth.

Paul Ausick

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