U.S. retailers are scheduled to report their comparable store sales numbers for the month of April between May 2 and May 3.
Same store sales, or comparable store sales, is a key metric in the retail industry to gauge the performance of a retailer. Comps compare sales of stores that have been open for a year or more, thereby giving an indication of revenue growth that comes from new stores, and growth from improved operations at existing outlet.
Retailers reporting monthly comps include Gap, Inc. (NYSE: GPS), Ross Stores, Inc.(NASDAQ: ROST), TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TJX) and Zumeiz, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZUMZ).
In addition to the monthly reporters, there is also the potential to receive quarterly updates from teen retailers Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) and American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO).
The business during the majority of the first quarter has been solid as the early onset of warm weather have likely been enough to keep the shoppers interested. However, in April, trends may have slightly fallen off the earlier pace set during February and March, a result of the earlier Easter holiday, although in general it seems that positive sales trends have continued across the board.
On a one-year basis, Zumeiz has the most difficult compares at 17.5 percent while TJX has the easiest at 5.0 percent. Among the remaining two that report monthly, Gap and Ross Stores are up against an 8.0 percent and 10 percent compare, respectively.
Looking ahead, compares at Zumeiz ease significantly with May/June/July at 7.8 percent/9.8 percent /4.9 percent, respectively. Gap becomes the easiest in May at (4.0)% and generally faces the lowest hurdles among the group throughout the remainder of the year.
Following unseasonably mild temperatures for the past several months, April patterns returned to more normalized levels with temperatures only 1.5 degrees above normal and 1.4 degrees above March, with 1.1 inches less rain than the historical average.
"According to our channel checks, as cooler temperatures took hold, traffic among our mall-based specialty apparel retailers declined.