February Sales Sizzle at Buckle

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The Buckle Inc. (BKE) reported net sales of $86.7 million in February 2011, up 17.4% from $73.9 million in the comparable month last year. The company’s comparable store sales soared 14.9% in the reported moth. Women’s side of business was a stronger performer in the month than the men’s.

Total sales for the men’s side of business increased 14.5% year over year and represented 39.5% of total sales for the month, down 100 bps year over year. Sales from the women’s side of business accounted for 60.5% of total sales, reflecting a handsome 19.5% increase. Even in the year-earlier month, the women’s segment accounted for 59.5% of total business.  

Pricing in the women's side of the business was steadier compared to men’s. Overall pricing was up 13.5% in the women’s side of business while the men’s side saw a 6.5% increment. Average accessory price points were down about 2.5%, but average footwear price points were up approximately 12.0% in the month. Comfortable winter helped drive the store-sales in the month.

In November, the categories that performed well were denim, woven and knit shirts and tops, casual bottoms, active apparel, and footwear. Accessory sales for men's and women's categories together inched up approximately 1.0% in comparison to the prior-year month while footwear business grew approximately 10.0%.

Buckle ended February with 431 retail stores in 43 states compared with 420 stores in 41 states as of March 8, 2011. Buckle is slated to report its fourth-quarter and fiscal 2011 results on March 8, 2012.

The Zacks Consensus earnings estimates for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2011 are pegged at $1.14 and $3.16, respectively. Following the solid monthly results, an optimistic outlook prevails around the stock. Of the eight analysts covering the stock, one analyst raised its estimate both for the upcoming quarter and fiscal year to reflect the company’s fundamental strength.

Buckle, which mainly caters to older teens and young adults, currently retains a Zacks #2 Rank that translates into a short-term Buy rating. We are also maintaining our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock. One of its competitors, Cato Corp. (CATO) reported a 3.0% upside in total sales but a 5.0% decrease in same-store sales in February.

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