LAW OF AVERAGES: The earliness of Easter, the lateness of Mother’s Day, the nastiness of the weather and the high price of gas were all expected to work against April’s same-store sales results. And they did, even more than most expected. Thomson Reuters’ tally of analysts’ estimates for the month called for a 1.5 percent increase, with the actual mean result picking up just 0.8 percent. Combining March and April, the increase was 2.5 percent compared with a 5.4 percent climb last year. More than half the stores reported missed estimates last month.

This story first appeared in the May 4, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

APPAREL WITHOUT APOLOGIES: Department and discount stores — ranging from Saks Inc. to Kohl’s Corp. to Target Corp. — fared worse than expected, and the relative strength of apparel stores, a point higher than anticipated with a 3.2 percent gain, was due in large part to the inclusion of powerhouse off-pricers TJX Cos. Inc. and Ross Stores Inc. They had respective increases of 6 and 7 percent and lifted their first-quarter earnings guidance. Excluding Gap Inc., another disappointment last month with a 2 percent slide, apparel stores forged ahead 5.3 percent versus the 3.5 percent gain expected.

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PEER PRESSURE:
In the unofficial competition between teen retailers that have abandoned monthly sales reporting, Aéropostale Inc. Thursday followed American Eagle Outfitters Inc.’s lead from the day before, lifting its first-quarter earnings estimates to a range of 12 cents to 13 cents a diluted share from the previous range of between 8 cents and 10 cents. The New York-based store had more modest growth in comp sales — up 2 percent including e-commerce, versus a 17 percent jump at AEO.

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