Analysts See Easy Retail Sales Comps For... (JOSB, ANN, FAS, PLCE, ARO, AEO, URBN, TLB, BKE)

Stern Agee has some previews ahead for earnings and same-store sales trends in the retail sector.  The firm’s Margaret Whitfield and Tom Nikic have some previews ahead of the retail earnings wave and we have focused a bit more on the retailers which the firm showed to have an “easy comparable sales comparison” coming their way.

Jos. A Bank Clothiers, Inc. (NASDAQ; JOSB) had a weak start to the year in Fiscal 2011 with a 0.1% comp and a focus upon gross margins, but its second and third quarter comps exceeded 14% perhaps aided by the beginnings of the tux rental initiative and effective promotions.

Missy apparel firms also have tougher comparisons especially in Q1 and Q2 including ANN, Inc. (NYSE: ANN) and Chico’s FAS Inc. (NYSE: CHS).

The earlier Easter should actually bring easier comps to Children’s Place Retail Stores (NASDAQ: PLCE).

Aeropostale Inc. (NYSE: ARO) is said to have notably easier comparisons with negative comps reported through December and it has now cleared through excessive inventories and was able to meet guidance for holiday sales and appears to have better fashion offerings currently.

American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) is said to have easy comparisons only in the first quarter.

Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) may be without its old CEO now, but Stern Agee said that its troubled Anthropologie unit has easy comparisons in Q1 and Q3 in particular. It noted, “Its efforts to clear inventories by the end of Q1 could lead to comps that meet or exceed expectations in Q1.”

The Talbots, Inc. (NYSE: TLB) can use any friend it can find, and Stern Agee’s pre-earnings report noted that this struggling retailer has relatively easy comparisons especially in the first half.

The Buckle, Inc. (NYSE: BKE) was called as being “successful in posting high single-digit comps through December without added promotions.”  The team noted, “We expect good results in FY12 but perhaps at a lower comp rate fueled by continued strong interest in its denim business which is over 40% of sales with double-digit sales gains reported for much of the year.”