Looks like Costco's disappointing August store sales was an anomaly. The good news is that retailers beat expectations, almost across the board. A number of retailers noted that some school districts in Texas and Florida went back to school a week later, which gave a boost in August. Bears, however, are noting that estimates were very conservative to begin with; they're calling it a non-event and advising to sell the strength in retail.
Wal-Mart, JC Penney, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor all handily beat expectations.Saks was a big surprise, notably better, up 18% for August, twice the estimate. Teen retailers like American Eagle also beat and reiterated Q3 earnings.
The commentary was pretty positive as well. JC Penney said, "August sales results reflected good response to both regular priced and clearance merchandise." Aeropostale said they saw "...an overall improvement in our business in August from July."
On the downside, these comparatively positive trend muddies the water for those arguing for a Fed rate cut. We keep getting numbers that refute the notion of imminent weakness; bears argue that it is still early in the game.
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