Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: “Bipolar” sales could signal better April

April 13, 2009

Check out this deeper look at March’s same-store sales results.

BLACKFRIDAY/Last week, retailers reported monthly sales that declined less than expected, a possible sign that shoppers may be regaining confidence to open their wallets after more than a year of recession.

On Monday, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Todd Slater offered his detailed take on the numbers, which he labeled as “bipolar”  — with comp store sales more negative than expected, but earnings more positive.

“Many retailers raised guidance despite worse-than-expected March comps, an indication that analysts are now too negative and consensus estimates are low enough,” he wrote. 

“Only 39 percent of the group beat consensus expectations (breaking a string of four consecutive months where more than half the group exceeded expectations), but no retailer lowered guidance and 11 retailers guided the outlook to the high end of their ranges or raised their outlooks.”

So what does this all mean?

Well, Slater says ”Ma-April” (or March and April combined) will be “less bad” than March, and April will be even better.

Also in the basket:

Weak pound draws Easter tourists to London shops

Average U.S. gasoline price rises 10 cents a gallon

Rumors about retailers can be very bad news for their health (USA Today)

TPG Capital Sells J. Crew Stake (WWD, subscription required)

(Photo: Reuters)

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