April Retail Sales Show Surprising Strength

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Retailers are announcing April U.S. same-store sales figures Thursday. Research firm Retail Metrics projected an overall gain of 3.9% year-over-year, but results came in far better — up 6%. The combined two-month gain for March and April came to 4.8% as the late Easter holiday and better weather, among other factors, lifted April same-store sales to their biggest one-month gain since September 2011.

Here is a rundown on stores that have reported sales:

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) reported same-store sales for April rose 5% compared with April 2013. That is higher than the Retail Metrics estimate for a gain of 4.2%, including gasoline sales. Net sales for the month totaled $8.56 billion.

L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB) said same-store sales for April jumped 8% compared with last year. Retail Metrics had estimated a rise of 4%. L Brands operates Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel stores. Net sales rose 9% to $717.6 million in April.

The Buckle Inc. (NYSE: BKE) reported same-store sales for April rose 0.8% compared with the same period a year ago. The Retail Metrics estimate called for a drop of 0.8%. Net sales rose 2.4% and totaled $75.6 million for the month.

Stein Mart Inc. (NASDAQ: SMRT) reported an 8.9% increase in same-store sales for April, well above the 3% positive growth estimate from Retail Metrics. In April of last year, sales rose 8%. Total sales for April came in at $108.1 million, compared with sales of $99.3 million in April 2013.

Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ: ZUMZ) posted a same-store sales increase of 8.2% for April. Retail Metrics estimated a rise of 1%. Last April the company posted a gain of 4.6% in same-store sales. Total sales for the month were $50.6 million, up 17.6% over April of 2013.

Costco shares were up 2.3% Thursday morning to $114.58. The stock’s 52-week range is $107.38 to $126.12.

L Brands shares were up 5.5% to $56.27, in a 52-week range of $48.76 to $67.12.

Stein Mart’s shares were up 5.9% to $12.88, in a 52-week range of $9.03 to $16.17.

Zumiez shares traded up 13.2%, at $28.10 in a 52-week range of $20.68 to $33.50.

Buckle’s shares were up 0.9%, as $47.12 in a 52-week range of $41.45 to $56.32.

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