June Sales Sunny for Some Retailers

Some retailers saw June gloom. Some experienced a positively sunny June.

Traditionally a month to clear out inventory before the Back-to-School season starts, some retailers posted gains or beat forecasts. Others experienced declines.

Zumiez Inc., a mall-based action-sports retailer, led the pack by posting solid gains of a 5.3 percent increase in same-store sales. It beat forecasts of a 1.1 percent increase predicted by the Retail Metrics market-research firm. The good comps rested on the strength of men’s and juniors categories, said Adrienne Yih, an analyst for Wolfe Research. But the retailer’s sales for hard goods, accessories and footwear dipped, according to Yih’s July 5 research note on Zumiez.

The Buckle Inc. reported a same-store-sales decline of 5.8 percent. It beat Retail Metrics’ forecast of an 8.3 percent decline. The mall-based denim retailer is currently suffering through two years of same-store-sales declines. However, Ken Perkins of Retail Metrics noted that the Buckle’s June 2017 results represent its second-lowest decline in 18 months.

June was tough for L Brands, the parent brand of Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Henri Bendel and Bath & Body Works. It reported a same-store-sales decline of 9 percent. A company statement noted that L Brand’s exit of swim and apparel categories hobbled the company’s June performance. The exit from the categories pushed the month’s sales performance down 7 percentage points.

Specialty retailer Cato Corp. announced that its same-store sales declined 16 percent in June. John Cato, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Charlotte, N.C.–based retailer, forecast turbulence for Cato.

“Our negative sales trends persisted in June and the decline in sales continues to put severe pressure on merchandise margins and profitability. Second quarter and full year earnings will be significantly below last year,” Cato said.