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Gap and Costco shine in June


New York -- Same-store sales increased 3.9% in June compared to the year-ago period, according to a preliminary tally of 12 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers. The association had expected a 3% to 3.5% increase.

According to Thomson Reuters, Wall Street expects an overall 3.6% increase in June same-store sales, which would be a bump over May’s 3.4% showing, but down 1.8% year-over-year.

"Excluding drug stores, the preliminary tally actually rose by a very strong 5.3% in June, which would be the strongest reading since August of 2012,” said Michael P. Niemira, VP of research and chief economist for ICSC. “Overall, these data continue to paint an improving picture after a ‘softer’ first quarter (February-April) and are encouraging as we move into the second fiscal quarter of the year.”

Of the handful of retailers still reporting monthly same-store sales, Gap Inc. and Costco Corp. were standouts.

At Gap Inc., same-store sales rose a better-than-expected 7%, boosted by a 13% rise at Old Navy.

“We are pleased with our June sales results,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap Inc. “Old Navy's performance was particularly strong.”

Costco Corp. reported a better-than-expected 6% uptick.

"We get no sense from the company's results that it is feeling any macroeconomic pressure at all," Cowen & Co analyst Faye Landes told Reuters.

The warehouse club operator got a boost from increased fuel prices. June net sales rose 8% to $9.92 billion.

However, L Brands Inc., formerly Limited Brands and parent to Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, saw flat June same-store sales, below the Wall Street forecast of a 2% rise and missing internal expectations as well.

Same-store sales at Victoria's Secret stores fell 1%, a dismal performance after its 11% rise in the year-ago period. Total L Brand sales for the month edged up to $1.101 billion from $1.077 billion last year.

Among other retailers reporting:

  • The Buckle same-store sales rose 3.4%, missing Wall Street forecasts;

  • Stein Mart rose 6.5%;

  • Cato edged up 1%;

  • Fred’s recorded a 4.5% uptick; and

  • Perfumania Holdings dipped 0.7%.

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