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Retailers Post Mixed April Sales Numbers As Higher Gas Prices Curb Consumer Spending
By: Mani   Thursday, May 3, 2012 3:59 PM
Symbols: GPS, JWN, LTD, ROST, TGT, TJX, WTSLA, ZUMZ
Total net sales improved 19.8 percent to $38.4 million.

Fashion specialty retailer Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN) reported a 7.1 percent increase in same-store sales for April, which came in above analysts' consensus estimate for a 5.8 percent rise. Preliminary total retail sales also grew 10.5 percent from last year.

Among discount retailers, Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) reported a 1.1 percent increase in comparable store sales, missing analysts' expectations of a 2.8 percent growth. Total monthly net retail sales grew 2.1 percent.

Off-price retailer TJX Cos., Inc.'s (NYSE:TJX) April comps rose 6 percent and total sales also increased 7 percent from last year to $1.8 billion. Analysts were expecting a 4.0 percent growth in comps.

"Comp sales were once again driven by significant increases in customer traffic, which indicates that our values and offerings of current fashions and great brands are attracting and resonating with consumers," TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz said in a statement.

Another discount retailer Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) said April same-store sales increased 7 percent, topping Street estimates for growth of 4.0 percent. Total sales rose 11 percent to $725 million.

Among department store chains, Macy's (NYSE:M) same-store sales for April increased 1.2 percent over last year, lower than the 1.9 percent growth analysts were expecting.

Kohl's Corp. (NYSE:KSS) reported a 3.5 percent drop in comparable sales, while Wall Street expected it to decline 1.0 percent. Total sales also fell 1.9 percent to $1.25 billion.

"As expected, warm March weather and an early Easter, contributed to a decline in April's sales. Home, Accessories and Men's all reported positive comparable store sales," Kohl's CEO Kevin Mansell said in a statement.

Analysts expect sales trends to remain fairly robust and think they are likely to pick up in May as regions around the country experience their first real burst of spring and new merchandise continues to flow into the stores.

In addition, May sales will be boosted by Mother's Day shopping, which is seen as the second biggest gifting holiday in the year after Christmas. This year, Mother's Day falls on Sunday, May 13, 2012, and retailers can expect a busy week leading up to the day.

According to a survey by National Retail Federation on 2012 Mother's Day consumer spending, the average person celebrating the holiday is expected to spend $152.52 on gifts, up from $140.73 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $18.6 billion.


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