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November 4, 2016

October Retail Results Not Impressive, Despite Easy Comparisons

by Jharonne Martis.

Fall continues to shape up as a slow season for retailers this year.

The Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales (SSS) Index registered a preliminary 1.0% gain for October, slightly below its 1.1% final SSS estimate. The bulk of retailers posted negative results, but there was one big positive surprise – teen retailer Zumiez.

Note that these results are not final since Gap, Inc. will report October SSS results on Nov. 7.

For two consecutive months, Zumiez has posted the strongest SSS results. For October, the retailer came up on top with a 10.2% SSS results, soaring above its 3.0% final estimate. As a result, Zumiez raised its third quarter earnings guidance again.

Meanwhile, Costco posted the second strongest result at 2.0%, followed by L Brands’ weaker-than-expected 1.0% SSS. The latter received a boost from its Bath and Body Works division’s 6.0% SSS, while its Victoria Secret’s group posted a -2.0% comp. On the flip side, teen retailer The Buckle registered the weakest result in our retail universe at -15.5%, followed by Cato Corp.’s -6.0% SSS result.

October marks the last month of the retail industry’s third quarter, which doesn’t look that healthy, either. The Thomson Reuters Quarterly Same Store Sales Index, which consists of 80 retailers, is expected to post 1.1% growth for Q3 (vs. 1.4% in Q3 2015).

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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