When Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) reported an unexpected jump in June comparable store sales on Tuesday, everyone wondered whether it was a sign of improvement, or just a fluke one-month consumer spending spree.

We got the answer this morning, as the majority of retailers unveiled their June results. To say the least, the results were spectacular. But as Fool retail investors know, it's important to look at trends, not just results from a single month. I put together a chart showing first-quarter and June comparable-store sales for the market cap leaders in three key retail segments.

Comparable Sales Results

Company Ticker QTR1 JUNE %CHG
Wal-Mart WMT 2.9% 4.5% 1.6%
Target TGT 6.2% 9.0% 2.8%
Costco COST 7.0% 9.0% 2.0%
JC Penney JCP 3.0% 7.4% 4.4%
Federated FD 2.6% 2.9% 0.3%
Kohl's KSS 3.7% 14.4% 10.7%
Gap GPS -4.0% 0.0% 4.0%
Limited LTD -5.0% 0.0% 5.0%
Chico's CHS 10.8% 18.8% 8.0%
Abercrombie ANF 19.0% 38.0% 19.0%
American Eagle AEOS 27.1% 28.0% 0.9%

Note that every top retailer in the discount, department-store, and apparel sectors experienced improved comp sales momentum in June compared to the first quarter. A few are particularly worth commenting on.

Wal-Mart's 4.5% is well above its first-quarter trend, but seems paltry compared with sizzling results from discount competitors Target (NYSE:TGT) and Costco (NASDAQ:COST). Look for all three companies to drive earnings leverage in the current quarter if the consumers' pocketbooks stay open in July.

Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) had a blowout month compared with first-quarter trends -- welcome news for the folks in Menomonee Falls, whose stock has recently started climbing after two flat years. JCPenney (NYSE:JCP), in the midst of a splendid two-year run, seems to have succeeded in differentiating itself from the generally laggard department-store industry.

Apparel stores are either feast or famine. While Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Gap (NYSE:GPS) and Limited (NYSE:LTD) continue to struggle, shoppers are flocking to Chico's (NYSE:CHS), Abercrombie (NYSE:ANF), and American Eagle (NASDAQ:AEOS). So much for the widely proclaimed "denim glut."

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Fool contributor Timothy M. Otte searches for retail value from Atlanta. He welcomes comments on his articles, and owns shares of Wal-Mart, but none of the other companies mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.