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Retailers report solid January sales despite winter deluge

New York City -- Many retailers reported solid January sales on Thursday, despite snowstorms that raged across the country during the month. On average, the retail sector reported same-store sales growth of 4.2%, according to Thomson Reuters, which far outpaced the average estimate of 2.7%, the group said.

The results, many of which surpassed Wall Street expectations, offer encouragement that the economic recovery is picking up speed.

"The early going looks good, despite the multiple snowstorms," Ken Perkins, president of research firm RetailMetrics LLC, said in an Associated Press report. "It's encouraging, and you're seeing other economic signs that things are turning around."

Costco Wholesale Corp, Victoria's Secret parent Limited Brands and teen retailer Wet Seal were among those that beat analyst expectations. Target, however, lagged, behind.

In recent weeks, analysts had lowered expectations as a series of snowstorms in several parts of the country kept shoppers at home. But it appears that consumers persevered and did not let record snowfalls get in the way of their spending. .

Costco had a 10% gain in same-store sales, beating Thomson Reuters analysts’ expectations of a 7% gain. Target Corp.’s same-store sales edged up 1.7%, missing the 1.9% gain that Wall Street projected.

In the specialty apparel segment, Limited, boosted by its Victoria's Secret division, reported a better-than-expected 24% gain in same-store revenue. Wall Street expected a 6.7% boost. Wet Seal reported a 6.2% gain, well surpassing the 4% decline that Wall Street anticipated.

Gap same-store sales in January rose 1%, solidly beating the 3.1% decline that Wall Street expected. The chain said its profit for the fiscal year just ended will come in higher than expected.

At The Buckle, same-store revenue rose 4.3%, missing the 5.7% gain expected from Wall Street.

In other news from the apparel category:

  • Hot Topic reported a decline of 3.3%
  • Zumiez had a 15% increase.
  • At Aeropostale, sales edged up 1%.
  • American Eagle reported a 6% decrease.
  • Cato’s same-store sales dropped 4%.
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