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Buckle February Comps Decline

Zacks Equity Research

The Buckle, Inc. (BKE), the retailer of casual apparel, footwear and accessories for men and women, witnessed a 1.4% fall in comparable-store sales (comps) for the 4 weeks ended Mar 1, 2014. However, net sales increased 0.2% to $89.5 million from $89.3 million in the prior-year period (ended Mar 2, 2013).

The ice storms due to the polar vortex, which hit a major part of the U.S. in January and February, prevented shoppers from venturing outdoors and consequently, hurt the business of retailers.

However, some other retailers including Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST), Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ) and L Brands Inc. (LB) emerged strong, gaining from the improved weather in late February, which coincided with the government’s tax refunds that increased the purchasing power of consumers. The above-mentioned companies recorded comps growth of 2% each for the 4 weeks ended Mar 1, 2014.

Buckle witnessed a marginal rise of 1% year over year in total sales in the men's category, which contributed nearly 41% to Feb 2014 sales. Women's category, which accounted for 59% of total sales in Feb 2014, fell 1% year over year.

On a combined basis, accessory sales increased 2% while footwear sales rose 2.5%% in the reported month. Notably, these two categories are estimated to have constituted nearly 8% and 5.5%, respectively, of February's net sales.

Buckle is scheduled to announce fourth-quarter results on Mar 14. Our proven model does not conclusively show Buckle as likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate this quarter. This is because Buckle carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and a negative Earnings ESP of 1.65% (as the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at $1.21 and the Most Accurate Estimate is $1.19). For a stock to outperform, it needs both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank of #1, 2 or 3.

As of Mar 6, 2014, Kearney, Nebraska-based Buckle operates 450 retail stores across 43 states.

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