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More Stores Post Upbeat June

NEW YORK — Consumers apparently aren’t checking their stock portfolios before they go shopping.<br><br>Despite the calamities on Wall Street this week, Nordstrom, Aeropostale, Hot Topic and Wet Seal all delivered positive results in their...

NEW YORK — Consumers apparently aren’t checking their stock portfolios before they go shopping.

Despite the calamities on Wall Street this week, Nordstrom, Aeropostale, Hot Topic and Wet Seal all delivered positive results in their June comparable store-sales. However, American Eagle Outfitters continued to struggle, reporting lower-than-expected sales in June and warning it now expects second-quarter earnings results to be lower than Wall Street’s expectations.

Jittery investors sent stock prices down to prices not seen since 1997. For the third consecutive day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged in the triple digits, closing Wednesday down 282.59 points, or 3.1 percent, to 8,813.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 35.10 points, or 2.5 percent, to 1,346.02 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index sank 8.59, or 2.7 percent, to 308.58.

Nordstrom said comps rose 3.2 percent, comprised of a 18.9 percent increase at its Rack stores and 1.8 percent gain in its full-line stores. The Seattle-based store said June sales were impacted by men’s and women’s semiannual sales events.

The retailer reaffirmed its second-quarter earnings per share guidance of 34 to 38 cents, excluding charges, despite raising its comp guidance to the positive low single digits from flat to slightly down. Analysts on average expected Nordstrom to report EPS of 37 cents. The company is scheduled to announce results Aug. 14.

New York-based Aeropostale said comps rose a better-than-expected 11.8 percent, compared to its original plan of a mid-single digit increase. Women’s comped up in the high-double digits, men’s in the low-single digits and accessories were flat. Total sales increased 42.1 percent to $32.4 million.

“We sold a high percentage of fall goods in June, which has positive implications for gross profit,” Michael?Cunningham, chief financial officer, said on a prerecorded call.

Teen retailer Hot Topic, based in City of Industry, Calif, said comps grew 2.1 percent. Betsy McLaughlin, president and chief executive, said in a statement, “Our inventories were on plan at the beginning and throughout the month, and we had low promotional activity. As a result, merchandise margins have remained strong.”

Specialty retailer The Wet Seal said comps in June increased 5.6 percent as overall sales rose 10.8 percent to $55.3 million.

This story first appeared in the July 11, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

American Eagle Outfitters reported a 3.2 percent comp decline at its stores. The Warrendale, Pa.-based retailer said, based on lower-than-planned sales in May and June and current expectations for July, it now anticipates second-quarter earnings to fall between 14 and 17 cents, compared to the 19 cents analysts were expecting and the 21 cents it earned last year.

Laura Weil, chief financial officer, said on a prerecorded call, “We continue to work through certain spring classifications, particularly women’s knits, which were clearly more challenging this spring due to new fashion trends.”

Tiffany & Co. on Tuesday said its fiscal second-quarter net income would be at the low end of its previous estimate of 22 to 24 cents a share, which would likely put earnings below Wall Street expectations.