How do you spell "relief"? For a women's apparel retailer with a merchandise-packed pipeline and two miserable quarters behind it, "relief" looks a lot like "positive same-store sales."

Christopher & Banks (NYSE:CBK) just reported a 3% increase in comps for the month of June. While the press release merely described the results as meeting expectations, that 3% is still a good number atop a steep 10% increase in the same period last year. Then again, after a couple of highly disappointing quarters, perhaps the company would be wisest to keep quiet for a few more months before trumpeting any upward trend.

As I reported a few weeks ago, the past two quarters have not been kind to C&B. Comps dropped, earnings fell even further, and inventories have remained high. A positive highlight is just what the doctor ordered.

Not that June sales are terribly meaningful for any apparel retailer. We're in the dog days of summer, when clearance is the order of the day. If you happen to take a moment off from the barbecue to visit a mall, you'll notice that EVERYTHING is at least 20% off. Clearance sales don't generate much profit, but they're necessary to make way for fall merchandise.

On a side note, the company also announced a deal with Accretive Commerce last week to launch an improved website -- a welcome development. A quick visit to the company's current site shows paltry functions, with no way to buy clothing online. I'm not convinced yet that anyone has figured out an effective way to do so, but it'll turn up eventually, and serious retailers need to at least be in the game.

Christopher & Banks is the first fashion retailer to chime in with June sales. Look forward to a host of sales reports next week from the likes of Ann Taylor (NYSE:ANN), Dillards (NYSE:DDS), Gap (NYSE:GPS), Limited (NYSE:LTD), and J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP). Excluding Limited's 2% increase, most of these companies reported negative comps in May, so I can assure you they're hoping for more positive June results. Stay tuned -- it'll be an interesting week.  In the meantime, go to the mall to pick up some summer apparel on sale. The retail sector needs your support.  

Check out what's new with purveyors of fashion apparel:

Gap does double duty as a Stock Advisor and Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Timothy M. Otte surveys the retail scene from Dallas. He welcomes comments on his articles, and owns shares of none of the companies mentioned above.