Following on JC Penney's strong holiday sales news, a group of retailers reported holiday sales for the November-through-December period were generally better than anticipated. More importantly, five companies raised guidance for the quarter (Most retailers have a November-through-January quarter.):
1) American Eagle: sales were down 2 percent, better than "mid-single digit" declines expected for the quarter, and they guided higher,
2) Aeropostale: sales fell 9 percent, not as bad as feared, and fourth quarter loss will be less than previously indicated,
3) Stage Stores: sales rose 6.5 percent,
4) Cato : sales were up 6 percent, better than the 4.5 percent gain expected,
5) Zumiez: sale jumped 8 percent.
You've got to believe that lower gas and better employment numbers were factors in these better guidance numbers.