October Retail Sales Lukewarm, Unless Store's Name Is Costco
Retail Metrics attributes the rather lackluster showing to unseasonably warm weather and “uninspiring fashion.” Consumer confidence rose in October, gasoline prices fell to multiyear lows and unemployment dropped below 6%. Even combined these factors couldn’t overcome earnings warnings from a number of retailers and promotional pricing to attract customers.
Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) and Rite Aid Inc. (NYSE: RAD) previously reported same-store sales growth of 5.6% and 5.5%, respectively. Pharmacy sales gains at both stores rose above 7% year-over-year in October, while front-end sales rose 2% at both chains.
The number of retailers reporting same-store sales has declined significantly over the past few years, but the reported numbers do provide a kind of interim report on quarterly performance at the country’s retail stores. Here is a rundown on stores that have reported sales for October:
Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) reported early Thursday morning that U.S. same-store sales for October rose 6.0%. That is higher than the Retail Metrics estimate for a gain of 3.8%, including gasoline sales. Excluding the negative impact from gasoline sales, sales rose 7%. Net sales for October totaled $8.73 billion, up 7% over October 2013’s total of $8.15 billion.
Costco shares were inactive in Thursday’s premarket session, having closed at $136.50 on Wednesday. The stock’s 52-week range is $109.50 to $137.81.
L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB) said same-store sales for October rose 3.0% compared with last year. Retail Metrics had estimated a rise of 2.5%. L Brands operates Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel stores. Net sales rose 3% to $700 million in October.
Shares closed up about 1% on Wednesday at $75.00 and were inactive Thursday morning. The stock’s 52-week range is $50.78 to $75.70.
Buckle Inc. (NYSE: BKE) reported that same-store sales for October fell 4.4% compared with the same month a year ago. The Retail Metrics estimate called for a drop of 2.8%. Net sales declined 1.3% and totaled $85.4 million for the month.
Buckle shares closed Wednesday up 2.4%, at $50.24 in a 52-week range of $41.45 to $52.31. Shares were inactive Thursday morning.
Stein Mart Inc. (NASDAQ: SMRT) reported a 1.4% increase in same-store sales for October, well below the 2.2% growth estimate from Retail Metrics. Total sales for October came in at $97.7 million, up 2.9% from a year ago.
Stein Mart’s shares closed up about 0.5% on Wednesday to $13.33 and were inactive Thursday morning. The stock’s 52-week range is $11.25 to $16.17.
Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ: ZUMZ) posted a same-store sales increase of 3.1% for October. Retail Metrics had estimated a rise of 2.6%. Total sales for the month totaled $51.7 million, up 11.7% over October of 2013.
Zumiez’s shares were inactive Thursday morning, after closing up about 1% Wednesday at $33.63 in a 52-week range of $20.68 to $34.64.
Walgreen’s stock closed up about 0.6% on Wednesday, at $65.66 in a 52-week range of $54.86 to $76.39. The stock was inactive Thursday morning.
Rite Aid shares closed down 1.3% on Wednesday, at $5.19 in a 52-week range of $4.42 to $8.62. The stock was inactive Thursday morning.