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Buckle's key sales measure edged up in December

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) -- The Buckle Inc.'s revenue at stores open at least a year rose 1.0 percent in the five weeks ended Dec. 29, better than Wall Street had expected, the denim-heavy retail chain said Thursday.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a decrease of 0.3 percent; none of the four analysts in the poll had predicted that the sales measure would rise.

Revenue from stores open at least a year is considered a key indicator of a retailer's financial performance. It measures results at established stores while stripping away the impact of recently opened or closed locations.

In the four weeks through Nov. 24, the teen retailer's revenue at stores open at least a year had dropped 0.1 percent. Analysts had expected a 2 percent gain. Since then, expectations for retailers have cratered amid early indications that holiday retail sales this season grew at the slowest rate in years.

The company, based in Kearney, Neb., said Thursday that total sales for in December increased 1.8 percent, to $185.0 million, from a year ago.

The Buckle operates 440 stores in 43 states.