April retail sales were slower than expected, but guidance was good. Retail sales were up 0.8 percent in the month, according to RetailMetrics, less than the 1.5 percent increase expected. It's the first miss since November 2011.
What happened? Retailers are facing the most difficult year-over-year comparisons to date: April 2011 saw an increase of 8.7 percent, because Easter was at the end of April (this year Easter was early in April).
Another factor (ready for this?): Colder weather at the end of April.
Below expectations: Target, The Gap, Macy's, Costco Wholesale, Walgreen, and The Buckle.
Costco had incredibly difficult comps: up 12 percent in April last year, and they still managed to eke out a 4 percent gain, just a tad below the 5.3 percent increase expected.
First quarter earnings guidance mostly up. Many companies guided higher: The Gap, Limited Brands, Aeropostale, Hott Topic, American Eagle Outfitters, TJX Cos., and Ross Stores.
The main trend continues: Off-price retailer (TJX and Ross Stores) continue to gain market share from the Kohl's and J.C. Penneys of the world.
No earnings update from Saks, Nordstrom, or Macy's.