November comps are starting to trickle in from many of the leading retailers. However, one of the biggest store-level improvements is coming from a chain that you may have never heard of, Citi Trends
The thrifty urban apparel specialist saw its November comps soar by 26%. That compares more than favorably with the other specialty retailers that announced their same-store sales results alongside Citi Trends Wednesday night.
Citi Trends cites hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma as an influence in propping up sales, as customers flocked to its stores in the path of those savage windstorms to replace destroyed articles of clothing. Don't be so modest, Citi Trends. You're hot. Flaunt it. Even if you back out the units that were in the affected areas, the rest of the Citi Trends stores produced stellar comps growth of 17% to 19% last month.
More to the point, despite an active hurricane season and the company's Southeastern stronghold, you can't just tag the company's recent popularity to the aftermath of the Katrina, Rita, and Wilma sisters. The company's surge in sales at the store level has been par for the course since it went public earlier this year.
Citi Trends, the Allied department store chain in a former life, is doing it right. It has concentrated on an underserved niche and become a community fixture in minority-filled neighborhoods. As dozens of chains duke it out for the suburban mall rat's disposable income, Citi Trends has grown by providing real values to communities that need it the most.
You don't hear too many retail analysts talking about Citi Trends. Maybe it's because it's not wedged between a Gap
That will suit some savvy investors just fine. The best time to answer the door is when most of the public doesn't even realize that opportunity is knocking.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that when opportunity knocks, you should always dust for fingerprints. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.