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April Comp-Store Sales Up

Retail sales are finally beginning to blossom as April comps at some retailers received a boost. Wal-Mart and discounters lead while department stores lag.

 

Retail sales are finally beginning to blossom as April comps at some retailers received a boost.

 

Discount giant Wal-Mart Stores saw a 2.6 percent jump for the month, beating guidance of a 1 percent to 2 percent gain. The company said it saw strength in the grocery, health and wellness and entertainment sectors.

 

“Apparel sales continued to recover, despite cold weather, with strengths in basics and consumables,” the company said.

 

Rival Target Corp. reported that same-store sales swelled 3.1 percent, but were below the company’s expectations.

 

American Eagle Outfitters posted a 2 percent jump, buoyed by an improvement in store traffic, more seasonal weather and the arrival of new summer collections. The teen retailer also reiterated first-quarter earnings guidance in the range of 18 cents to 20 cents a diluted share.

 

Aeropostale Inc. continued on its winning streak, reporting a 25 percent surge in comps and raising first-quarter guidance. The mall-based specialty retailer now expects earnings of about 25 cents a diluted share, up from previous forecast of 20 cent to 22 cents a share.

 

Abercrombie & Fitch grew 6 percent while Zumiez Inc. rose 4.1 percent, beating estimates of a 2.6 percent increase.

 

Gap Inc., which was flat for the month, was hurt by a 12 percent decline in same-store sales at its Old Navy chain.

 

Limited Brands saw a 5 percent drop, worse than the 2.3 percent decrease analysts expected.

 

And the department store sector continued to lag. Bon-Ton Stores fell 0.9 percent, Dillard’s Inc. dropped 4 percent, Gottschalks Inc. declined 3.9 percent and Stage Stores slid 1 percent.