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Comps Shaky for U.S. Retailers in February

Posted on March 7, 2013 by HFN Staff

NEW YORK-Same-store sales for chains tracked on a monthly basis by HFN wobbled through the month of February, beset by extreme weather conditions in parts of the country along with late-coming income-tax refunds for consumers.

Ross Stores, which in recent months has presented strong same-store gains, reported a 1 percent drop in comparable-store sales last month. The TJX Cos., which has also produced a consistent record of positive gains, limped through February with a 1 percent increase. Costco beat the other two handily with a 6 percent pickup--5 percent when factoring out gasoline sales.

Michael Balmuth, Ross' vice chairman and CEO, cited the delays in income-tax refunds, and added that Ross expects same-store sales in March to drop a further 1 to 2 percent. Comparable-store numbers for April should rise by between 5 and 6 percent, Balmuth said, given the shift in the Easter holiday.

Commenting on TJX's February performance, CEO Carol Meyrowitz said shoppers were kept home during the month by winter storms in many of the U.S. and Canadian regions. Meyrowitz added that the company's home businesses, which are less sensitive to the weather, were strong across the board.