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Pisani: February Retail Surprise?

Expectations very low for February, given the huge snowstorms in the Northeast.

But analysts who actually bother to call around to the stores (there's still a few who do real research) are generally reporting that sales are a bit better than expected.

The talk is that traffic increased at the end of the month, and that Valentine's Day and President's Day was strong.

Not surprisingly, analysts seem to agree that the outperformance will come at the opposite ends: the high end stores like Saks and Nordstrom, and the discounters like TJX (sales expected up roughly 9 percent, according to Morgan Stanley) and Ross Stores (sales up 7 percent).

Some specialty retailers like Limited (think Victoria's Secret) should also show nearly double-digit gains in store sales.

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