Retail

April Same-Store Sales Forecast to Rise 1.3%

Several chain stores that still report monthly same-stores sales results will be announcing April numbers after markets close Wednesday and before they open Thursday. Analysts at Retail Metrics are projecting a 1.3% year-over-year increase for the month, well above last month’s 0.2% gain and February’s 0.1% gain.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) is expected to report late Wednesday. Retail Metrics sees same-store sales rising 1.1%, including gasoline sales, and 4.3% excluding those sales and the effects of currency exchange rates.

Teen clothing retailer Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ: ZUMZ) is forecast to report a drop of 5.4% for April. Last year April sales fell 4%.

The Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) is expected to post a gain of 1.1% in April same-store sales when it reports on Monday, May 9. The company posted a drop of 12% in April of last year, so the comparison is not too difficult. Gap’s Old Navy stores are forecast to see a rise of 2.6% compared with a year-ago comp of negative 6%. Banana Republic stores are expected to report a decline of 5.1% compared with a decline of 15% a year ago.

L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB), which operates Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works among other brands, is forecast to post a gain of 4.8% compared with a 1% drop in April 2015.

Retail Metrics commented:

April benefited this year from one additional selling day resulting from the Easter holiday shift. Most stores were closed on the first Sunday of April last year for the Easter holiday but were open this year which likely translated into a 100-200 bp bump to April comps. L Brands was the only retailer to provide guidance around the impact of the shift on sales and provided an April comp range of 2-6% with the current consensus at 4.8% growth. This is the highest sales expectation among monthly reporters

The analysts note that car sales rose strongly again in April and that new car payments “are likely pulling dollars out of other discretionary categories for many Americans.”