October Retail Sales Slide on Warm Weather, Automobile Sales

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Retailers announced October U.S. same-store sales figures Thursday morning, and research firm Retail Metrics had forecast a modest year-over-year gain of 0.2% for the month. In September retail same-store sales rose 0.5%.

Shortly after markets opened Thursday morning, Retail Metrics reported that same-store sales in October declined by 0.2%, the seventh time in the last eight months that expectations have been missed.

Booming sales of new cars are keeping shoppers out of the mall and on car dealer lots, according to Retail Metrics. Warm weather and slow income growth also weighed on retail sales in October.

Here are results from the stores we track:

Buckle Inc. (NYSE: BKE) reported that same-store sales for October fell 5.8% compared with the same month a year ago. The Retail Metrics estimate called for sales to drop 4.1%. Net sales for all stores fell 4.7% and totaled $81.4 million for the month.

Buckle’s shares traded down less than 1% midday Thursday, at $35.17 in a 52-week range of $33.44 to $56.13.

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Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) reported October same-store sales, including gasoline sales and foreign exchange effects, were up 1% in the United States and down 1% internationally. Globally, same-store sales were down 1% compared with October 2014. Excluding gasoline and currency exchanges, U.S. sales and international sales both rose 4%. On the same basis, worldwide same-stores sales in the quarter rose 5%. Net sales for the month totaled $8.78 billion, up 1% year over year. Retail Metrics had projected a same-store sales decline of 0.6% (up 5.5% excluding gasoline sales and foreign exchange effects).

Costco shares traded down fractionally to $156.02. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $117.03 to $159.40.

L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB) said same-store sales for October rose 5% compared with last year’s sales. Retail Metrics had estimated an increase of 4%. L Brands operates Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel stores. Net sales also rose 5% to $735.6 million in October. Earlier this week L Brands raised its third-quarter earnings per share guidance from a prior range of $0.40 to $0.45 to a new range of $0.51 to $0.53. The company plans to report earnings on November 18.

L Brands’ shares traded down about 1.3% to $98.85. The stock’s 52-week range is $74.75 to $101.11.

Stein Mart Inc. (NASDAQ: SMRT) reported a 1.9% increase in same-store sales for October, above the 1.7% increase estimated by Retail Metrics. Total sales for the month came in at $97.3 million, down 2.5% from a year ago. The company noted that sales were negatively affected by record high temperatures in most regions. The company expects to report third-quarter earnings on November 19.

Stein Mart’s shares traded down about 0.3% at $8.95. The stock’s 52-week range is $8.45 to $16.65.

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