UNDERWHELMING: With an average gain of 3.4 percent last month, retailers disclosing same-store sales results Thursday fell below the 4.5 percent estimate tabulated by Thomson Reuters but stayed within the range of 2 to 5 percent increases experienced throughout 2011. Hurt by unseasonably warm weather at the start of October and then a brutal surprise snowstorm in the Northeast on what was for many stores the final day of the month, 68 percent of stores monitored by Thomson missed analysts’ estimates, the largest percentage of “non-meeters” since September 2009.
BREATH OF FRESH AERO: Many of the stores that have dispensed with monthly reporting checked in Thursday with sales results for their third quarters, and their reappearance made for a number of dramatic swings in their stocks. Shares of Aéropostale Inc. moved 19.3 percent higher, to $17.08, when it lifted its third-quarter earnings guidance to a range of between 27 and 28 cents, from its earlier estimate of 9 to 15 cents, based on gross margin strength and despite a 9 percent comp decline. Meanwhile, shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. were off 19.9 percent, to $59.26, based on “a slowing trend in Europe, including negative comps for flagship stores” and declines in Japan and Canada. Overall comps rose 7 percent.
LUXE HICCUP: Trailing only The Wet Seal Inc., Saks Inc. had the second worst “miss” for the month, with a 1.8 percent increase versus a 5.4 percent estimate, and Nordstrom Inc.’s 5.4 percent gain was a full point behind Wall Street’s expectations. Neiman Marcus Inc., another monthly comp-reporting abstainee, said its comparable revenues were up 8 percent for the quarter, with net sales up 8.2 percent to just over $1 billion.