SOMETHING’S AMISS: Expectations for June retail sales were modest considering the month’s status as a transition month, tough year-ago comparisons and continuing reports of slow traffic in stores. Yet June was even weaker than expected, with the Thomson Reuters Same-Store Sales Index up just 0.1 percent against a 0.5 percent estimate and just one-third of stores beating estimates versus two-thirds that missed them. The miniscule increase was the worst result since the 2.1 percent decline of August 2009 and the beat/miss ratio the poorest since 68 percent fell short of estimates in October, according to Jharonne Martis, Thomson’s director of research.
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WEIGHING ON THE NUMBERS: Walgreens and Rite Aid had negative comps last month (down 10 and 1 percent, respectively) as a shift toward generic drugs lowered revenues. Without the drug chains, the index would have been up 2.5 percent, better than the 2.2 percent figure for April. Retailers with considerable global penetration were hurt, as witnessed by the 14 percent decline in international operations at Gap Inc., by challenging economic conditions abroad and the relative strength of the dollar against overseas currencies like the euro.
TRAFFIC JAM: No small share of the blame for June’s weakness goes to a simple lack of traffic in malls and stores. RetailNext, the San Jose, Calif.-based consumer analysis firm, tracked shopping for graduation gifts and found a 5.4 percent drop in traffic, a 4.7 percent fall in transactions and a 5.6 percent decline in units sold, resulting in a 4.3 percent pullback in sales, according to data collected from 513 U.S. retail stores.