Same-Store Sales Hit by Hurricane Sandy (COST, WTSLA, LTD, TGT, BKE, SMRT, M, GPS)

Several retailers are announcing November same-store sales today, and the reports are generally good. Research firm Retail Metrics projects an overall gain of 3.5% for the month, excluding the impact of drug store sales. Over the past two years November same-store sales have jumped a combined 8.5%. Retail Metrics notes that same-store sales projections for November have declined by 70 basis points since the beginning of the month.

Some retailers also are announcing special dividends for shareholders, payable before the end of the year. The goal is to lessen the tax bite on dividends that may arrive in January.

Here's a rundown:

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) reported yesterday that same-store sales for November rose 6% compared with November 2011. The company also announced a special dividend of $7 per share payable before the end of this year.

The Wet Seal Inc. (NASDAQ: WTSLA) reported same-store sales for the four weeks fell 5.4%, better than September's drop of 7.6%. The company said that the effects of Hurricane Sandy cost the store about 1%.

Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD) said same-store sales for the four weeks ended November 25 rose 5%, compared with November 2011 and a consensus estimate for a rise of 3.1%.

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) posted a same-store sales drop in November of 1%, well below expectations for a gain of 2.1%. The company blamed weaker-than-expected sales in the first two weeks of the month, likely attributable to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

The Buckle Inc. (NYSE: BKE) reported same-store sales for November fell 0.1% compared with the same month a year ago. The Retail Metrics estimate called for a gain of 1.8%. Same-store sales year-to-date are up 2.8%.

Stein Mart Inc. (NASDAQ: SMRT) reported November same-store sales up 7.1%, and total sales up 7.5%. The company also declared a special dividend of $1 per share, payable before the end of 2012.

Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) reported November same-store sales declined by 0.7%, compared with an estimate for growth of 2.5%. The company attributed the weakness to poor sales in the first two weeks of the month, including "disruption" from Hurricane Sandy.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) reported same-store sales rose 3% for the four weeks ended November 26. The consensus estimate called for a gain of 3.8%. Year-to-date Gap's sales are up 4% over 2011.

Gap's shares are down 2.4% at $34.95 in premarket trading this morning, in a 52-week range of $17.71 to $37.85.

Wet Seal's shares are inactive in the premarket today, having closed last night at $2.91 in a 52-week range of $2.42 to $3.80.

Target's shares are down 2.9% this morning, at $61.00 in a 52-week range of $47.25 to $65.80.

Limited's shares are inactive this morning, having closed at $50.79 last night in a 52-week range of $37.57 to $52.20.

Costco shares are up 0.9%, at $102.58 in a 52-week range of $78.81 to $104.43.

Macy's shares are also down 2.8% this morning at $39.25, in a 52-week range of $30.38 to $42.17.

Stein Mart's shares are inactive, having closed at $7.59 last night in a 52-week range of $6.02 to $9.34.

Paul Ausick


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Retail Tagged: BKE, COST, GPS, LTD, M, SMRT, TGT, WTSLA

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