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L Brands winning the game, category: Analysts

The retail play: L Brands & Target

Among the retailers to report same-store sales on Thursday, L Brands stood out to a pair of analysts.

"They've been incredibly consistent. They're beat on the margin side," said Stacy Widlitz of SW Retail Advisors. "They're a category killer."

Jan Kniffen, CEO of Worldwide Enterprises and retail consultant agreed. "I absolutely believe L Brands has been winning the game," he said. Costco also drew praise from him.

The companies who report same-store sales tend to be the better players, Kniffen said. "The ones who kept reporting consistently had good stories to tell," he said. "So it has been this ever-smaller group reporting and giving us not as good a guidance as we would like to see."

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Kniffen's retail stock picks are companies he believes have turnaround potential, including Kohl's, Stein Mart and Burlington Coat Factory.

Widlitz chose L Brands, TJX and Target.

"Target is a company that is driving its destiny," she said. "It's getting out there in front of its consumer and offering the most competitive shipping rates and recovering from the years were it focused too much on grocery and left its core categories behind."