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How the Market Reacted to Buckle's Comps

Zacks Equity Research

Not much reaction was seen in The Buckle, Inc. (BKE) with the stock witnessing a marginal decline of 0.6% after it posted dismal sales data for the month of January. It seems that investors have already factored in challenging holiday season as well the severe cold weather thereafter that took a toll on retailers.

The retailer of casual apparel, footwear and accessories for men and women posted a 6.6% fall in comparable-store sales (comps) for the 4 weeks ended Feb 1, 2014. Net sales decreased 27.9% to $56.9 million from $78.8 million in the prior-year period (ended Feb 2, 2013).

For the 13-week period, Buckle witnessed a 2.8% decrease in comps, while net sales dropped 6.0% to $339.0 million from $360.6 million in the year-ago period.

For the 52-week period, comps were flat year over year, while net sales inched up 0.4% to $1.128 billion from $1.124 billion in the prior year.
The holiday season was a tough one, some struggled to lure budget-constrained consumers while some make their way through. Consumer spending environment was not very convincing, and bargain hunters went from one shop to another to grab the best deal.

After a dismal holiday season, severe weather conditions dampened consumer spirit and reduced footfall at the malls. Despite these challenges, certain retailers like Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST), L Brands, Inc. (LB) and Walgreen Co. (WAG) emerged strong by recording comparable-store sales growth of 4%, 9% and 2.9%, respectively.   

However, Buckle disappointed as it witnessed a sharp fall of 29% year over year in total sales in the men's category, which contributed nearly 40.0% to Jan 2014 sales. Women's category, which accounted for 60.0% of total sales for Jan 2014, also fell 27.5% year over year.

On a combined basis, accessory sales declined 25.5% while footwear sales slipped 18% in the reported month. Notably, these two categories are estimated to have constituted nearly 7.5% and 4.5%, respectively, of January's net sales.

Kearney, Nebraska-based Buckle, which currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), operates 449 retail stores across 43 states.

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