January Retail Sales: Some Winners, Some Stragglers (COST, WTSLA, LTD, TGT, BKE, SMRT, M, GPS)

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Retailers are announcing January same-store sales figures today. Research firm Retail Metrics projects an overall gain of 2.8% year-over-year, compared with a 4.8% gain in December and a 2.9% gain in January of 2012.

The month of January was a five-week month for most retailers.

Here’s a rundown:

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) reported that same-store sales for January rose 4% compared with January 2012. That is slightly below the Retail Metrics estimate for a gain of 4.1%.

The Wet Seal Inc. (NASDAQ: WTSLA) reported same-store sales for the five weeks fell 9.4%. Once again transactions fell at the company’s Wet Seal stores. Retail Metrics had projected a same-store sales decline of 5.4%.

Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD) said same-store sales for the five weeks ended February 2 rose 9%, compared with January 2012 and a Retail Metrics estimate for a rise of 3.4%. The company also said it is “comfortable” with the consensus fourth-quarter earnings per share (EPS) estimate of $1.73.

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) posted a same-store sales gain of 3.1% for January. Retail Metrics had expected growth of 1.7%.

The Buckle Inc. (NYSE: BKE) reported same-store sales for January fell by 2% compared with the same month a year ago. The Retail Metrics estimate called for a gain of 1.4%. Same-store sales for the fourth quarter were flat to a year ago, while sales for the full year rose 2.1%.

Stein Mart Inc. (NASDAQ: SMRT) reported same-store sales for the four weeks ended January 26 up 4.6%. Retail Metrics estimated a same-store sales increase of 5.8% for Stein Mart.

Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) reported January same-store sales jumped by 11.7%, compared with a Retail Metrics estimate calling for an increase of 5%. The company also said fourth-quarter same-store sales rose 3.9% and fiscal year sales were up 3.7%. Macy’s raised its fourth-quarter adjusted EPS guidance from a range of $1.91 to $1.96 to a new range of $1.94 to $1.99.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) reported same-store sales rose 8% for the four weeks ended February 2. The Retail Metrics estimate called for a gain of 4%.

Gap’s shares are up 1.1% at $33.00 in premarket trading this morning, in a 52-week range of $21.15 to $37.85.

Wet Seal’s shares are inactive in the premarket today, having closed last night at $2.87 in a 52-week range of $2.42 to $3.73.

Target’s shares are up 0.7% this morning, at $63.15 in a 52-week range of $51.51 to $65.80.

Limited’s shares are down 0.7%, at $46.90 in a 52-week range of $40.32 to $52.50.

Costco shares are up fractionally in premarket trading, at $101.72 in a 52-week range of $81.98 to $105.97.

Macy’s shares are up 3.9% this morning, at $41.00 in a 52-week range of $32.31 to $42.17.

Stein Mart’s shares are inactive, having closed at $8.27 last night in a 52-week range of $6.02 to $9.34.

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