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June 3, 2016

May Retail Sales Are Still Hurting

by Jharonne Martis.

American shoppers seem to be keeping those wallets closed this spring. The Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales Index registered a -1.1% comp for May, missing its -0.6% final SSS estimate. There were more than average downward surprises — 57% of retailers missed expectations. There weren’t any positive results, either.

It’s a measure of industry weakness that the discount group posted the strongest results with a flat SSS, below its 1.4% SSS final estimate.

Both Costco and L Brands came on top with a flat SSS result, followed by Fred’s -0.4% result. L Brands received a hit from its Victoria’s Secret division, which came in at -1.0% SSS, making it the second straight month it posted a negative SSS result. Meanwhile, Gap which has the biggest weighting in our apparel index, posted a -6.0% SSS, and is being hurt the most by Banana Republic, which saw a decline of 11% in SSS. The Buckle registered the weakest result in our retail universe at -11.0%, followed by Zumiez with a -7.6% SSS result.

May marks the last month of the industry’s Q2 2016. The Thomson Reuters Quarterly Same Store Sales Index, which consists of 80 retailers, is expected to post 0.9% growth for Q2 (vs. 1.4% in Q2 2015). It’s worth noting that a 3% gain is considered a sign of a healthy retail sector.

Exhibit 1.  Performance — Overall and Compared to Expectations


Source: I/B/E/S estimates

Exhibit 2.  Beat — Met — Missed


Source: I/B/E/S estimates

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