Americans were willing to spend money at retailers last month. Despite the summer heat, consumers flocked to stores to take advantage of discounts and inventory clearance sales.
The International Council of Shopping Centers reported that sales at U.S. stores open for at least a year rose 4.6% in July, topping the 3.1% increase Wall Street had expected, Reuters noted.
July is typically a slow month for retailers. Analysts noted that merchants had begun promoting back-to-school products earlier than in prior years.
While the better-than-expected retail numbers were welcome, analysts said the numbers didn’t necessarily signal improving economic conditions and noted that August’s retail numbers would provide more insight into the economy’s health.
Costco (NASDAQ:COST) reported that its sames-store sales topped Wall Street forecasts for the month.
American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) raised its earnings forecast for the quarter on rising sales.
Limited Brands (NYSE:LTD) said same-store sales increased 8% in July and raised its earnings outlook for the quarter.
Gap (NYSE:GPS) said it saw a 10% rise in same-store sales during the month, handily topping the 3.8% gain analysts had predicted. Investors sent its shares up more than 9%.
Not all retailers reported good news, however.
Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), in contrast, warned that its earnings for the second quarter would be half of what analysts had forecast. Its shares dropped sharply on the news.
Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) also said its sales during the quarter were lower than analysts had expected. Its shares plummeted more than 32% in Thursday trading.