I'm long this stock, but I don't think there's any way it can be a positive surprise. In fact, I don't even know how they gave such a wide spread for same-store comps on their last call. The call was in mid-March, two weeks before the end of the quarter, and the guidance they gave was between -4% and +1%, but in Q&A, they clarified that currently they were at the low end of guidance. If you're at the low end of guidance with two weeks to go, how can the range be so wide? I expect them to come in a -3% or at most -2% on same store comps. The big question is what guidance they'll give for Q2. If it's minus 4 to plus 1 again, I think the stock will go down. Minus 2 to plus 2 should keep it steady. Minus 1 to plus 4 should take it up, and keep it going up until next earnings. So honestly, I'm a bit pessimistic going into this call. That said, I would absolutely LOVE for them to give a positive surprise. God knows I've waited long enough for it.
Apparel retailers typically have their fourth quarter end in January. Presumably this is because you get Xmas gift cards redeemed in January, and that would give better insight into that quarter. Also, I would guess they do it this way because December is a busy month, and would be too busy a time to prepare earnings reports. Just a guess as to why.