Skip to main content

The Buckle, Hot Topic shine in apparel segment


New York City Apparel retailers saw their sales drop in March, as the recession and a late Easter holiday weighed heavily on March same-store sales results. Consumers traditionally boost shopping ahead of Easter, but the holiday falls in April this year instead of March.

Consumers continued to shop cautiously in March amid high unemployment and continued home foreclosures, but there were some glimmers of stabilization in Thursday’s reporting. Gymboree Corp. even raised its first-quarter earnings forecast.

The Buckle and Hot Topic both reported higher results than analysts predicted. At The Buckle, March same-store sales surged 14.7%, surpassing Wall Street's expectations. For the period ended April 4, total sales gained 21.5% to $77.3 million. Year-to-date same-store sales rose 17.4%, while total sales gained 24.1% to $140.6 million.

At Hot Topic, which boosted its first-quarter guidance after reporting its results, same-store sales climbed 7.1% in March after getting a boost from sales of the "Twilight" DVD.

Not all teen retailers were as lucky. The former high-flying Abercrombie & Fitch Co., which has been under pressure since last fall, said Thursday its same-store sales dropped 34% in March. The chain said overall sales fell 29% and direct-to-consumer sales fell 23%.

In other results:

• Gap beat analyst’s predictions, helped by better results from its Old Navy chain, which it has been trying to turn around. Same-stores sales fell 8%, while analysts predicted a 9.9% drop.

• Limited Brands on Thursday said same-store sales fell 9% for the five weeks ended April 4. Analysts expected a drop of 12% in same-store sales.

• Aeropostale said Thursday its same-store sales rose 3% in March as a late Easter this calendar year ate into results. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected same-store sales to increase 3.9%.

• Children's Place Retail Stores said its March same-store sales dipped 2%, missing Wall Street's expectations.

• American Eagle Outfitters said Thursday its same-store sales fell 16% in March, worse than analysts predicted.

For the five weeks ended April 4, the Pittsburgh-based retailer said its total sales fell 9%, to $242.6 million. The company said its results reflected the shift of Easter to April from March last year.

Despite the drop, American Eagle raised the lower end of its guidance for the first quarter.

• Wet Seal said Thursday its same-store sales fell 11.4% in March, worse than analysts predicted.

For the five weeks that ended April 4, the retailer said its total sales fell nearly 12%, to $51.2 million.

• Zumiez said that its same-store sales tumbled 17.9% in March, weaker than analysts' consensus forecast.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds