Consumer Products

July Retail Sales Rise More Than Expected

Many retailers are out today with July same-store sales results, and the month’s gains appear to be better than first expected. The Thomson Reuters consensus estimate for sales growth was 3.1%, but the final tally looks to be a jump of 4.6%, not including drug stores. Research firm Retail Metrics had estimated growth at 3.3%, excluding drug stores.

Hot weather and promotional prices combined to attract shoppers looking for bargains on summer clothing in advance of the back-to-school season that kicks off this month.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) reported a same-store sales gain of 5% yesterday, excluding gasoline sales and the effects of currency translation. Costco shares are traded fractionally higher this morning, at $96.04 in a 52-week range of $70.22 to $97.76.

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) reported a same-store sales jump of 3.1% in July, beating the consensus estimate for a gain of 2.7%. Food sales contributed most to the gain. Shares are up more than 2% to $61.90, in a 52-week range of $45.28 to $62.18.

Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST) said same-store sales rose 7% in July, equal to June’s increase. The company raised its current quarter EPS guidance form $0.77 to $0.78 to $0.80 to$0.81. Shares are up about 0.6% at $66.50, in a 52-week range of $33.50 to $70.04.

Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) reported a same-store sales increase of 4.1% in July. Online sales rose sharply, and the sales gain was nicely higher than the consensus estimate of 3.2% growth. Shares are up 4.8% at $36.73, in a 52-week range of $22.66 to $42.17.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) saw same-store sales jump 10%, far above the consensus estimate for a gain of 3.8%. The company also raised its EPS guidance for the current quarter to $0.47 to $0.48, well above its EPS of $0.35 in the same period a year ago and sharply higher than the consensus analyst estimate of $0.38. Shares are up 10.3% at $32.47, after posting a new 52-week high of $32.75. The previous 52-week range was $15.08 to $30.20.

Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD) posted a same-store sales jump of 12%, compared with the consensus estimate of 6%. The company raised guidance and declared a $1 per share special dividend. Shares are up 1.4% at $47.48, in a 52-week range of $31.43 to $51.84.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) saw same-store sales fall 10%. The company also slashed its guidance, saying same-store sales in the second-half of the year would be weaker. Shares have been hammered, down 14.3% at $29.15, after posting a new 52-week low of $28.67. The previous range was $29.51 to $77.49.

American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) does not report monthly sales figures, but raised its guidance yesterday to a current quarter EPS of $0.19 to $0.21. Previous guidance had called for EPS of $0.13 to $0.15. Shares are down 1.5% at $20.02, in a 52-week range of $10.00 to $21.46.

Aeropostale Inc. (NYSE: ARO) reported same-store sales were flat for its second quarter, and cut its quarterly guidance. Shares are down about 31% at $13.42, in a 52-week range of $9.16-$23.05.

Paul Ausick