By  on August 3, 2012

CHANGING GEARS: Analysts and economists, who generally took June’s weak results as a sign of disappointments to come, had to readjust their metric antennae once again Thursday as comparable-store sales for both July and the second quarter raced past anticipated levels. Excluding drug stores, Thomson Reuters’ SSS Index finished July ahead 4.6 percent, its highest level since a 6.9 percent leap in March, a month that benefited from Easter’s timing, and the beat-to-miss ratio came in at better than three-to-one. Gap Inc.’s 10 percent stride provided not only the largest single upside surprise, coming against a 3.8 percent estimate, but was the retailer’s first double-digit finish — at least on the positive side — since March 2010.

RELATED STORY: July Sales Show Surprising Strength >>

GROUNDED TEENS: Following a large reduction in guidance by Abercrombie & Fitch Co. on Wednesday, rival teen retailer — and fellow former monthly reporter — Aéropostale Inc. saw its shares wither $6.37, or a hefty 32.8 percent, to $13.08 after it reduced second-quarter earnings guidance to break-even on a per-share basis, from its earlier range of a profit of 3 to 5 cents. Comparable sales — same-store sales including e-commerce results — were essentially flat as chief executive officer Thomas Johnson noted “weaker than anticipated” store traffic despite “a more cohesive fashion offering.”

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