The Buckle, Inc. (BKE), Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST), Limited Brands, Inc. (LTD): Good Retail News Comes in Threes

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When last we saw our heroes, the cold, long winter had stretched into early spring, and everyone was suffering. Comparable sales got hammered by the weather, and consumers everywhere longed for light skirts and new spring colors. Well, break out the grill: Spring has finally sprung!

Earlier this morning, The Buckle, Inc. (NYSE:BKE), Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), and L Brands (NYSE:LTD) reported May sales, and everyone did better. That’s not to say that the market loved the results, but investors may be breathing a sigh of relief nevertheless. The range for the three retailers was fairly tight, but there are still some ups and downs for investors to keep in mind.

The Buckle, Inc.

The Buckle, Inc. (NYSE:BKE) pushes the boat out
Denim retailer The Buckle, Inc. (NYSE:BKE) increased comparable sales by 4.1% in May, while net sales grew 4.2%. The increase in comparable sales is excellent news for shareholders — this guy, for instance — as sales had been slow to push out of the winter doldrums.

The good result brings the company’s 17-week comparable sales position to positive 1.8%. The stock was up slightly on the news, but is still trading at the lowest P/E of any of the three reporting companies. A mere 15.7 times earnings gets you into this gem. With a history of strong performance and a healthy dividend, The Buckle, Inc. (NYSE:BKE) continues to look like a long-term winner.

Costco’s base stays fired up
Among retailers, Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) was one of the better performers, even through the weak beginning of spring. The warehouse-themed, member-driven chain is running at a 6% comparable-sales increase for the 39 weeks through the end of May. Over the month, Costco managed a 5% once gasoline price changes and foreign exchange rates were taken into account. Without those effects, Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) would have put up 6% growth.

Assistant VP Jeff Elliott said that the company saw strength in many U.S. regions, including Texas and the Midwest. Internationally, Canada, Mexico, and Japan were the big winners. Unfortunately, those countries also posed exchange drags, which pulled the comparable sales down 0.5%.

Another clear winner, Costco has been driving away over the last year. While it’s not as cheap as Buckle — Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) trades at a P/E of 24 — it’s still a stock that won’t be keeping shareholders up at night. Try as I might, I can’t seem to say enough good things about Costco.

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