January 6, 2017

U.S. Holiday Retail Sales Show Mixed Results

by David Aurelio

The Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales Index registered a 2.4% gain for December, beating its 1.3% final SSS estimate. However, it wasn’t all good news. The bulk of retailers missed their estimates, although Gap Inc. posted a positive surprise in December.

Gap sales surged, posting a 4.0% SSS results, above its -0.7% final estimate. The chain received a healthy boost from its Old Navy division’s 12.0% SSS, while its Banana Republic Global group slumped, posting a -7.0% comp. Similarly, Zumiez recorded a better-than-expected 3.4% SSS. On the flip side, teen retailer The Buckle registered the weakest result in our retail universe at -15.5%, followed by Cato Corp.’s -12.0% SSS result. L Brands registered a weaker than expected -1.0% SSS. Still, its Bath & Body Works division registered a 3.0% comp, but below its 3.8% SSS final estimate.

December marks the second month of the retail industry’s Q4 for fiscal 2016. The Thomson Reuters Quarterly Same Store Sales Index, which consists of 80 retailers, is expected to post 1.0% growth for Q4 (vs. 1.4% in Q4 2015).

Exhibit 1.  December SSS Results vs. Expectations


Source: Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates

Exhibit 2.  Beat — Met — Missed


Source: Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates

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