January Retail Sales Soar for Some, Plummet for Others

First the good news. Zumiez Inc., the Lynwood, Wash.–based action-sports apparel and equipment retailer, continued its winning streak with strong retail sales last month. Net sales rose 14.3 percent to $49.4 million in January with same-store sales rising 9.4 percent. Because January was slightly better than expected, the company is anticipating higher fourth-quarter 2016 earnings, which will be reported in early March. Zumiez currently operates 685 stores in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia under the Zumiez, Blue Tomato and Fast Times nameplates.

In contrast, Kearney, Neb.–based chain The Buckle Inc. continued to struggle in January. The company reported a 17.2 percent decrease in net sales to $43.9 million in January and a same-store-sales decrease of 17.6 percent.

For Columbus, Ohio–based L Brands Inc.—the operator of Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel stores—January was close to flat. The company reported a 1 percent decrease in net sales to $805.2 million in January with same-store sales declining 4 percent.

L Brands also announced a new $250 million repurchase program (which includes $62 million remaining from an earlier program). Last year, L Brands repurchased $438 million of stock.

The Gap Inc. will report its January sales on Feb. 6.