Did consumers show retailers the love in February? It looks like analysts think so.
The Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales Index, which tracks the companies that will report monthly sales late Wednesday and early Thursday, is expected to rise 4.8 percent in February. That's on top of last February's 4.0 percent gain.
According to Thomson Reuters, a gain of 3.0 percent is generally a sign of health among U.S. consumers, so 4.8 percent is a strong showing, especially on top of last year's sold gain.
Consumers have been in a more upbeat mood lately amid signs the economic recovery is on more solid ground. On Tuesday, consumer confidence rose to a one-year high, boosted by an improved outlook for the labor market.
Valentine's Day likely gave the Limited a boost. The company, which operates Victoria's Secret, is expected to post one of the strongest gains. The average analyst estimate calls for a 6.2 percent gain.
As a group, discounters such asCostco are expected to have the strongest results.
If retailers reach these targets, they will have their best sales gains since September.
So far, it looks encouraging. Costco reported its monthly sales when it released its quarterly earningsearlier Wednesday. The wholesale clubstore saw a sales gain of 8.0 percent at stores open at least 12 month, which was higher than Wall Street's estimated gain of 7.6 percent.
A breakdown of the estimates follows: