Retailers report solid January sales despite winter deluge

NEW YORK -- Many retailers surprised with solid January revenue reporting on Thursday, despite snowstorms that raged across the country during the month.

The reports, many of which surpassed Wall Street expectations, offer encouragement that strength in consumer spending is continuing after a merry holiday season.

 Costco Wholesale Corp, Victoria's Secret parent Limited Brands and teen retailer Wet Seal were among those that beat analyst expectations. Target, however, lagged, behind.

"The early going looks good, despite the multiple snowstorms," Ken Perkins, president of research firm RetailMetrics LLC, said in an Associated Press report. "It's encouraging, and you're seeing other economic signs that things are turning around."

 In recent weeks, analysts had lowered expectations as a series of snowstorms in several parts of the country kept shoppers at home. But it appears that consumers persevered.

Limited, boosted by its Victoria's Secret division, reported a better-than-expected 24% gain in same-store revenue. Wall Street expected a 6.7% boost.

In other apparel sector news, Gap same-store sales in January rose 1%, solidly beating the 3.1% decline that Wall Street expected.

Wet Seal reported a 6.2% gain, well surpassing the 4% decline that Wall Street anticipated.

The Buckle's same-store revenue rose 4.3%, missing the 5.7% gain expected from Wall Street.

In other news from the apparel category:

  • Hot Topic same-store sales declined 3.3%.
  •  Zumiez same-store sales soared 15%.
  • Aeropostale same-store sales edged up 1%.
  • American Eagle reported a 6% decrease.


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