March retail sales strong: March same-store sales up 3.9 percent, well above estimates of 3.3 percent, according to RetailMetrics.
Strength across the board: Sales at Macy's, Gap, Ross Stores, Limited Brands, Kohl’s, TJX Cos., and Target (which also raised first-quarter earnings guidance) all well above expectations.
Kohl’s CEO Kevin Mansell summed it up: “Warmer weather and an earlier Easter combined to help improve our sales trend.”
One slight disappointment: Costco Wholesale up 6 percent, slightly below expectations of 6.7 percent, but the nation's largest warehouse retailer was up against very difficult comps: March was spectacular in the prior last two years, up 23 percent in the last two years combined (up 10 percent in 2010; up 13 percent in 2011).
Now for the bad news: a) the Street has long priced in these strong numbers and most are at or near new highs; b) the warm weather, such a boon for the last three months, may have pulled some numbers forward; and c) April comps are tough — April same-store were up 8.7 percent last year, according to RetailMetrics, because Easter was two weeks later, toward the end of March.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page