Where were you and yours flashing the cash during April mall visits? A whole slew of same-store sales for the month have arrived in the last day or so, and they show a fickle consumer who responded more favorably to some retailers than to others. Limited Brands
Limited Brands, which appears in your local mall via the Limited, Express, Victoria's Secret, and Bath & Body Works, reported a 2% increase in same-store sales, less than the average 4.8% increase that was expected on Wall Street. While the Victoria's Secret concept showed an 11% increase, that was still less than anticipated, and Limited and Express both posted same-store sales declines.
So what happened to those stores' foot traffic? It's hard to tell for sure, but perhaps shoppers were drawn to stores like American Eagle Outfitters
While Abercrombie reported flat comparable-store sales, it was still better than the widely expected 1.5% decline -- and Abercrombie's needed some better-than-expected news on the same-store sales front for a while. Another retail concept that struggled during the recession, American Eagle Outfitters, seems to be continuing to redeem itself with shoppers, with its 8.3% hike in same-store sales in April.
Meanwhile, there were some big winners. Aeropostale continues to be a hot retailer, with same-store sales up 19% and an increased earnings view. Urban Outfitters, which runs both its namesake stores and the more mature-minded Anthropologie, was perhaps the clearest winner in this subsegment of the retail space, with same-store sales bolting a blazing 32% and sales up 59%.
Retail is a fickle world, driven by taste, fashion, and economics. That can be a tough sell (or buy, as the case may be) for investors. The consumer has been showing a healthier appetite for shopping than it has for several years, and to some degree that has benefited many retailers. In April, though, it's clear that some were more fashionable than others.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned.