May Retail Sales Strong for Second Month in a Row

24/7 Wall St.

Retailers are announcing May U.S. same-store sales figures Thursday. Research firm Retail Metrics projected an overall gain of 3.4% year-over-year. After the weather-related sales weakness in the first three months of the year, April and May have both produced fairly strong gains.

The number of retailers reporting same-store sales has declined significantly over the past few years, but the reported numbers do provide a kind of interim report on the quarter's performance at the country's retail stores. Here is a rundown on stores that have reported sales:

Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) reported same-store sales for May rose 6% compared with May 2013. That is higher than the Retail Metrics estimate for a gain of 4%, including gasoline sales. Net sales for the month totaled $8.78 billion.

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L Brands Inc. (LB) said same-store sales for May rose 3% compared with last year. Retail Metrics had estimated a rise of 2.1%. L Brands operates Victoria's Secret, Pink, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel stores. Net sales rose 4% to $763.6 million in May.

The Buckle Inc. (BKE) reported same-store sales for May fell 3.1% compared with the same period a year ago. The Retail Metrics estimate called for a rise of 0.3%. Net sales declined 1.2% and totaled $72 million for the month.

Stein Mart Inc. (SMRT) reported a 0.4% increase in same-store sales for May, well below the 1.2% positive growth estimate from Retail Metrics. In May of last year, sales rose 8.2%. Total sales for came in at $109.6 million, up 2.2% from a year ago.

Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ) posted a same-store sales increase of 3.6% for May. Retail Metrics estimated a rise of 0.5%. Last May the company posted a gain of 1.1% in same-store sales. Total sales for the month were $49.5 million, up 13.3% over May of 2013.

Costco shares were up about 0.1% in premarket trading Thursday to $116.45. The stock's 52-week range is $107.38 to $126.12.

L Brands shares were inactive, having closed at $58.49 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $48.77 to $67.12.

Stein Mart shares also were inactive and closed at $13.24 Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $11.53 to $16.17.

Zumiez shares were inactive and closed at $27.88, in a 52-week range of $20.68 to $31.54.

The Buckle's shares were inactive as well, and the closed at $45.20 in a 52-week range of $41.45 to $56.32.

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