January Same-Store Sales as Cold as the Weather

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Retailers reporting January same-store sales Thursday are expected to show a rise of 2.3% compared with sales in January 2016.

Industry research firm Retail Metrics noted that same-store sales growth last January amounted to a gain of just 1.3%, so the year-over-year comparison should be an easy bar to clear. January is typically the least important month for retailers, both quarterly and for the year, so it’s best not to read too much into the reports.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) is expected to report its sales next Monday and to post a same-store sales increase of 2.1% across all its store brands, with Banana Republic stores dropping 2.5%.

Here are results from the stores we track:

Buckle Inc. (NYSE: BKE) reported same-store sales for January fell 17.6% compared with the same month a year ago. The Retail Metrics estimate called for sales to drop 13.1%. Net sales for all stores fell 17.2% and totaled $43.9 million for the month.

Buckle’s shares traded down about 1.1% at $20.85 Thursday morning. The stock’s 52-week range is $19.95 to $35.02.

January same-store sales at Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST), including gasoline sales and foreign exchange effects, reportedly rose 6% in the United States, rose 11% in Canada and rose 4% internationally. Globally, same-store sales increased 7% compared with January 2015. Excluding gasoline and currency exchange effects, U.S. sales rose 53%, Canadian sales rose 1% and international sales rose 8%. On the same basis, worldwide same-stores sales in the quarter gained 5%. Net sales for the month totaled $9.08 billion, up 9% year over year. Retail Metrics had projected a same-store sales increase of 3% (up 2.2% excluding gasoline sales).

Costco shares traded up about 4%, at $168.32 in a 52-week range of $138.57 to $169.59.

And L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB) said same-store sales for January decreased 4% compared with last year’s sales. Retail Metrics had estimated that sales would slip 0.1%. L Brands operates Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel stores. Net sales for all stores fell 1% to $805.2 million in January.

L Brands also said this morning that it would pay its normal quarterly dividend of $0.60 per share and reported that it has authorized a $250 share buyback program, including $62 million remaining in its previously authorized program. The company said it repurchased $438 million in stock during 2016.

L Brands’ shares dropped more than 2% to $57.48 early Thursday, a new 52-week low. The 52-week high is $95.94.