December Same-Store Sales Reflect Little Holiday Cheer

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The big news in holiday retail sales Thursday morning is the drop in same-store sales for the November-December holiday shopping season at Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) and Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS). The debacle at Macy’s will result in 68 store closures and 6,200 lost jobs.

Kohl’s did not announce any store closings or firings, but did lower full-year adjusted earnings per share guidance from a prior range of $3.80 to $4.00 to a new range of $3.60 to $3.65. Not only are earnings expectations being slashed, but gross margins are expected to be lower “due to the mix and timing of the sales and the competitive promotional environment.”

Industry research firm Retail Metrics now forecasts fourth-quarter same-store sales to rise by just 0.9% and December sales to rise by 1.5% for the relatively small number of stores that still report monthly sales comparisons.

After markets close this afternoon, Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) is expected to post a same-store sales decline of 1.7% across all its store brands with Banana Republic stores dropping 5.3%.

Here are results from the stores we track:

Buckle Inc. (NYSE: BKE) reported same-store sales for December fell 15.5%, compared with the same month a year ago. The Retail Metrics estimate called for sales to drop 13.8%. Net sales for all stores fell 15.1% and totaled $154.6 million for the month.

Buckle’s shares traded down about 4.6% at $22.65 Thursday morning. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $19.95 to $35.02.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) reported that December same-store sales, including gasoline sales and foreign exchange effects, rose 3% in the United States, rose 7% in Canada and fell 3% internationally. Globally, same-store sales rose 3% compared with December 2015. Excluding gasoline and currency exchange effects U.S. sales rose 3%, Canadian sales rose 4% and international sales rose 4%. On the same basis, worldwide same-stores sales in the quarter rose 3%. Net sales for the month totaled $13.07 billion, up 4.9% year over year. Retail Metrics had projected a same-store sales increase of 2.2% (up 2.4% excluding gasoline sales).

Costco shares traded up about 2.0% to $163.01, having closed at $159.76 on Wednesday. The stock’s 52-week range is $138.57 to $169.59.

L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB) said same-store sales for December decreased 1% compared with last year’s sales. Retail Metrics had estimated that sales would rise 1.5%. L Brands operates Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel stores. Sales at the company’s Victoria’s Secret stores fell 4%, and they were flat at Bath & Body Works stores. Net sales for all stores rose 1% to $2.44 billion in December.

L Brands’ shares traded down about 7.7% to $62.15. Shares closed at $67.34 on Wednesday, and the stock’s 52-week range is $60.00 to $97.39.