A Guess store in San Francisco.

NEW YORK — Early same-store sales results from three retailers Thursday indicate a mixed bag is in store when firms release June comps next week.<br><br>Christopher and Banks Corp. and The Dress Barn Inc. posted June comparable-store sales...

NEW YORK — Early same-store sales results from three retailers Thursday indicate a mixed bag is in store when firms release June comps next week.

This story first appeared in the July 2, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Christopher and Banks Corp. and The Dress Barn Inc. posted June comparable-store sales declines of 8 and 1 percent, respectively, while Guess Inc. reported a 12.7 percent gain.

Earlier this week, analysts said in research notes that cooler temperatures and more difficult year-over-year comparisons would dampen June sales. However, Wall Street is expecting some retailers, especially in the specialty and high-end channels, to show strong gains.

One such retailer is Guess, which delivered a second-quarter comps increase of 15.1 percent. Total retail sales for the second quarter rose 20.5 percent to $115.2 million from $95.7 million last year. For June, total retail sales came in at $34.6 million, a jump of 18.8 percent from $29.2 million in the prior year.

Christopher and Banks’ total sales for June climbed 5 percent to $29.8 million from $28.4 million last year, but it was not enough to offset the same-store sales decline. For the four-month period, total sales increased 9 percent to $132.4 million from $121.8 million last year. Looking toward the fall, management is optimistic.

Bill Prange, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement, “Our sweater business remained soft in June. However, we continue to believe that the changes we have made to our merchandise mix will start to have a positive impact on our performance beginning with August deliveries.”

For Dress Barn, total sales rose 2 percent for the month to $72.7 million compared with $71.2 million last year.

In May, specialty chains had an averaging comp increase of 5.4 percent, with Guess well ahead at 14.6 percent, while Christopher and Banks reported a 6 percent decline and Dress Barn delivered a 4 percent gain.

Next Thursday, when most retailers report June comps, Wall Street will be keeping a close eye on Gap Inc., which had a May comp rise of 11 percent.

Speaking of Gap, the retailer’s debt ratings outlook was revised Thursday by Standard & Poor’s to “positive” from “stable.”

The ratings firm said the improvement is due to Gap’s fast-growing earnings over the past several years. In May, Gap posted its seventh consecutive quarter of profit growth.

The S&P said Gap “has the opportunity to further improve operating performance over the next few years through greater sales of merchandise at full price and cost leverage. Nevertheless, intense competition and the inherent fashion risk of the industry may make progress uneven.”