Good February sales cheer up Wall Street

Friday, 02 March 2012

Chico's FAS, Inc. CHS +1.87 per cent today announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.0525 (Rs 2.59) per share on its common stock. The dividend will be payable on March 26, 2012 to Chico's FAS shareholders of record at the close of business on March 12, 2012.

Elsewhere, the Cato Corporation (CATO) today reported sales for the four weeks ended February 25, 2012 of $83.9 million (Rs 414 crores), a 3 per cent decrease from sales of $86.2 million (Rs 425 crores) for the four week period ended February 26, 2011. Same-store sales for the month decreased 5 per cent from the prior year.

“February sales were slightly weaker than our recent trend reflecting the continuing difficult economic environment and, to a lesser extent, the impact of tax refund delays,” stated John Cato, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer.

With a few exceptions, the February same-store sales numbers out of US retailers were very strong. Apparel names notably outperformed consensus estimates, while department stores made up for what was a pretty poor showing in January. The only real high-profile miss was Kohl's, which saw a moderate decline in comps, trade publications reported on Thursday.

Macy's, operator of the Macy's and upscale Bloomingdale's department store chains, said February same-store sales rose 4 per cent. Analysts had predicted a 3.8 per cent rise. Shares fell about 2 per cent at early trading in New York, while Target shares fell less than 1. In the same vein, Nordstrom (JWN) said same-store sales advanced 10.2 per cent, seeing its stock rise by 5.6 per cent.

Finally, Zumiez said Wednesday that February same-store sales climbed 14.2 per cent vs. a year earlier, easily surpassing Wall Street's estimates for a 5.3 per cent gain. Total sales leapt 23 per cent to $40.2 million (Rs 198 crores), sending its shares up by 7 per cent.

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