February Sales Are a Mixed Bag for Retailers: The TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX), Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST), The Gap Inc. (GPS)

Page 1 of 2

Retail sales in February were generally positive, with a few positive contributions from brands like The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX) and Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST). While the number of big reporting companies has dropped off in 2013, the sales releases still give a broad idea of how consumers are reacting to changes in the economy. Wall Street analysts are expecting overall sales to have risen 3.3% once all the reports are in. That’s a far cry from February 2012, when the average report showed a 6.4% increase in sales.

But the confusion is all part of the general feeling sweeping over consumers. While the latest poll shows that consumer confidence increased in the beginning of February, that confidence didn’t seem to be reflected in purchasing decisions. Here are few of this month’s highlights, and a look at what the decline means for retailers in general.

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST)The winners
February wasn’t all bad news. The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) posted a modest increase of 3%. That’s a drop from this time last year, but it’s only a 1-point drop. The company continued to see its strongest increases in the Old Navy brand, which it’s been working hard on over the past few months. Investors should keep an eye out for Old Navy in Japan, which The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) is going to be pushing later this year due to the success of the company’s Tokyo store.

The aforementioned The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX) saw a small rise as well, with comparable sales up 1% in February. That’s a borderline success, but better than the company expected. As seems to always be the case, management said that sales at the end of the month were on the rise, so be on the lookout for better sales in March. The company is coming off a strong year of 7% comp sales increases, so investors are hoping that things get better as this quarter moves on.

Finally, Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) put everyone to shame with a 6% increase in comparable U.S. sales. That’s right in line with the company’s half-year sales increase. The stock is taking a tiny hit, though, as international sales were off the half-year average, up only 4% in February. Overall, the company continues to have an excellent year, and the stock is up 3.5% year to date.

The losers
At the other end of the spectrum — the unfortunate end — we’ve got two retailers who should know better. The Buckle, Inc. (NYSE:BKE) — a personal favorite of mine — posted a 1% decline in comparable sales. The company managed to count it as a win, though, with the market expecting the decline to be much sharper. The denim retailer had a 2% decline in January, so the smaller fall is good news overall. Last quarter, The Buckle, Inc. (NYSE:BKE) had a 2.4% increase in comparable store sales.

Finally, Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) took the bad news cake. While same-store sales only fell 1% — in line with Buckle — analysts had been expecting a small gain. On top of the underwhelming month, Ross said that it expected “same store sales in March and April to be down 1% to 2% and up 5% to 6%, respectively.” That’s a turnaround time that analysts didn’t see coming, and that the market has reacted very strongly to. Share of the retailer are down 7% in midday trading.

Page 1 of 2

Biotech Insider Alert - $6 Stock To Hit $40

$200 Million Dollar Healthcare Hedge Fund's #1 Best Idea Right Now

The best healthcare hedge fund out there right now is one of the largest shareholders in this biotech stock. The fund returned more than 20% in each of the last 2 years with a virtually fully hedged portfolio, and it's sending out a BUY signal on this biotech stock. Get your FREE REPORT today (retail value of $300)

This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.
Comments
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).

Lists

Most Famous Gay Athletes

The World’s Most Famous Circuses

Best Hair Stylists

Most Popular NASCAR Drivers

The Best Romance Movies of all Time

The Most Wanted Drug Lords

The Oldest Money Managers

The Greatest Directors in the World

Largest Animals in the World

World’s Most Expensive Desserts

Best Selling Comic Books of All Time

A-list Actors who Sabotaged Their Career

Rappers With a College Degree

The Best Jazz Albums of all Time

The Most Influential Jazz Musicians

The World’s Most Famous Photographers

The Best Oscar-Winning Songs

Most Influential Choreographers Ever

Most Expensive Department Stores in the World

The Most Expensive Stolen Paintings in the World

The World’s Most Expensive Teas

Top Oscar Record Holders

The Most Expensive Flowers in the World

Countries With a Booming Film Industry

Most Expensive Cupcakes in the World

Uncommon European Escapes

The Most Stolen Artists in History

Best Travel Destinations in Australia

World’s Most Expensive Musical Instruments

World’s Most Famous Animals

Most Expensive Cakes in the World

Most Expensive Kosher Champagne in the World

Most Expensive Kosher Wine in the World

The Most Surprisingly Dark Fairy Tales

Most Popular Travel Destinations in Asia

The 10 Most Expensive Dresses Ever Worn to the Oscars

World’s Most Visited Art Museums

Best Countries for Photographers to Work in

Best Paid Jobs in the Film Industry

The Most Renowned Recovered Paintings Ever

Child Stars That Turned out Just Fine

Books That Were Banned in the Past Century

World’s Richest Dancers

Best Remedies against Bad Breath

Foods That Improve Your Skin Texture

Best-Selling Children’s Books of all Time

Foods That Boost Your Libido

Best-Selling Books of all Time

The Most Expensive Academy Awards Jewelry in History

Most Expensive Japanese Restaurant In New York City

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 129% in 2.5 years!! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!