August has been a good month for retailers as moms and dads and college-bound students stocked up for their studies in the most important shopping season outside of the yearend holidays.
Most of the country's largest merchandisers on Thursday reported solid same-store sales this month.
Retail sales figures for the four weeks ended Aug. 25 seem to run counter the Conference Board's most recent consumer confidence index that showed a considerable decline from July's 65.4 to 60.6. While this suggests Americans are less confident in their immiedate futures, it didn't seen to stop them from helping most of the country's biggest retailers have a good Back-to-School season. Confidence is still twice as high as the last steep drop in January 2008 when the index plummeted below 30 in the wake of the mortgage meltdown.
Most retailers beat analysts' expectations. Here's a rundown of some of the major players who reported stronger-than-expected same-stores sales this month through Aug. 25:
Kohl's Corporation (NYSE: KSS) of Menomonee Falls, Wis. -- The department store that operates over 1,100 venues in all but one U.S. state saw same store sales grow 3.4 percent in August with total sales of $1.49 billion, 5.3 percent higher than last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had anticipated 1.9 percent growth. The company's stock price rose as much as 2.33 percent on the news, to $53.34.
Limited Brands, Inc. (NYSE: LTD) of Columbus, Ohio -- The operator of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works reported 8 percent growth in same-store sales this month. Wall St.'s crystal ball predicted 4.2 percent growth. Sales, however, were down from last year, to $665.6 million from $702.4. Limited's share price was only up slightly, to $47.87 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX) of Framingham, Mass. -- The off-price apparel and home fashion seller saw an 8 percent rise in same store and 10 percent in total sales, to $1.9 billion. The company also raised its outlook for its third quarter, to deliver 59 cents per share from 56 cents. Analysts' consensus had estimated 6.3 percent same store sales growth. Despite the news, the company's stock price was trading down 1.87 percent to $45.77.
The Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) of San Francisco -- This specialty apparel company saw a 9 percent rise in same store sales that buoyed the company from declines internationally. The market predicted it sales would grow 5.4 percent. Net sales were up 9 percent, too, to $1.2 billion from last year. The Gap's share price rose Thursday as much as 2.81 percent to $36.16.
Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN) of Seattle -- The luxury goods retailer saw same store sales rise 8.4 percent with total sales at $866 million a whopping 25-percent increase from last year. The company did not meet the predicted 11.1 percent. The company's share price was trading up slightly, adding nine cents to $57.85.
Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) of Minneapolis, Minn. -- The discount retailer saw same stores sales grow 4.2 percent, beating expectations of 3.2 percent. Total sales for the four weeks ended Aug. 25 was $5.5 billion, an increase of 4.7 percent. The stock price was trading down 6 cents to $64.19.
Macy's, Inc. (NYSE: M) of Cincinnati, Ohio -- Same store sales were up 5.1 percent for the department store chain. Total sales rose 5.7 percent to $1.8 billion. Analysts had expects 3.6 percent sale store sales. The company's share price was down 15 cents to $40.32 in New York.