NEW YORK — Despite the threat of higher fuel prices softening consumer spending, May same-store sales came in stronger than most analysts predicted — especially for retailers selling women’s apparel.

The right fashion mix and appealing accessories seemed to have paid off for retailers. And the shift of Mother’s Day, according to Citigroup analyst Deborah Weinswig, “contributed to May results, with giftable categories such as jewelry, accessories, and cosmetics outperforming,” she said.Of note were strong results from J.C. Penney, Nordstrom, Federated Department Stores and AnnTaylor Stores, which posted comps that rose 11.1, 7.8, 9.2 and 12 percent, respectively.

Weinswig said in a research note this morning that the Citigroup Broadlines Index increased 4.5 percent in May, “above our 4 percent estimate. General merchandise increased 4 percent and department stores increased 7.4 percent,” she said adding that for June, “broadlines retailers have a tepid outlook in light of higher gas prices and the difficult [same-store sales] comparisons versus last year.”

For complete coverage, see tomorrow’s issue of WWD.

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