January a Good Month for Zumiez, Limited, Target

Retail sales in January were a mixed bag, with a few of companies turning in impressive numbers and others falling short of expectations.

Sportswear and accessories retailer Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) came out on top, posting a same-store-sales increase of 10.8 percent for January, usually not one of the strongest months for sales, according to MarketWatch. This blew the 4.3 percent average estimate made by Thomson Reuters anaysts right out of the water. The company’s total sales leaped 19.2 percent to $31.8 million, but shares were still flat today in early trading, said the report.

Dorothy Lakner of Caris & Co. said that because Zumiez runs its business well and has a great deal of growth left compared to the majority of specialty retail, the store should get more attention from investors, Market watch reported. “At just 444 stores and potential for 600 [to] 700 domestically, Zumiez is one of the few teen retailers with growth in its core business, a strong management team, [a] unique concept and a strong balance sheet,” said Lakner.

Other retailers that shone in January include, Limited Brands (NYSE:LTD) with same-store sales up 9 percent, against a forecast of only 2.7 percent, sending shares up 5 percent, and Costco (NASDAQ:COST) with same-store-sales rising 8 percent, beating the forecast of 6.1 percent. Target (NYSE:TGT) came in with more than twice what analysts expected, posting a gain of 4.3 percent.

“Over half of the [growth at Target] was driven by ticket, while traffic was also strong,” said David Strasser of Janney, MarketWatch reported. “Improvement in traffic is a good sign, but we believe it was a function of weather in January.”

Not looking so good in January was teen clothing retailer Wet Seal (NASDAQ:WTSLA), which had a same-store sales decline of 13 percent instead of the expected loss of 3 percent. Consequently, shares were down almost 6 percent early Thursday. Stein Mart (NASDAQ:SMRT) sales sagged 3.9 percent, worse than the anticipated 0.5 percent decline, although shares gained a bit in morning trades.

Shares of The Gap (NYSE:GPS) rose about 10 percent, buoyed by fourth-quarter profit of 41 cents or 42 cents per share, which beat expectations of 35 percent. Sadly, the company’s January same-store sales slipped 4 percent and total sales lagged 1 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gina Smith at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com