While retailers continue to be jumpy about consumer spending in the months ahead, many are posting solid second-quarter results. Target, Staples and BJ's Wholesale Club were among those putting up strong numbers -- as were smaller chains, including Chicos and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Target's net earnings rose 3.7% to $704 million for the quarter -- compared with $679 million in the same period a year ago -- while sales rose 5.1% to $15.9 billion, including a 3.9% increase in same-store sales. "We're very pleased with our second-quarter financial results, which benefited from an acceleration in the pace of our comparable-store sales growth," says Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO, in its release.
Staples says its sales rose 5.2% to $5.8 billion in the second quarter, while net income rose 36% to $176 million. "Our core business is solid, our growth initiatives are building momentum, and we delivered better-than-expected earnings and cash flows," says Ron Sargent, Staples' chairman/CEO.
And BJ's Wholesale Club also turned in numbers that beat expectations, with net income rising to $45.7 million, from $42.5 million in the same period last year. Sales gained by 11% to $2.98 billion, with comparable-club sales rising 7.8%, including a contribution from sales of gasoline of 4%. (Excluding the impact of rising gas prices, comparable club sales increased by 3.8%.)
Abercrombie & Fitch -- which made a splash earlier in the week when it offered to pay Michael 'The Situation' Sorrentino, a character in MTV's TV show "The Jersey Shore," to stop wearing its clothes and potentially damaging its image -- says its net income soared to $32 million, compared to net income of $19.5 million in the quarter a year ago. Sales climbed 23% to $916.8 million, from $745.8 million a year ago, with comparable-store sales climbing 9%. (That includes a 5% same-store gain for the flagship brand, 7% increase for abercrombie kids, and 12% for Hollister.)
At Chico's, net income rose to $43.4 million, compared to $30.5 million a year ago, or $0.17 per diluted share for the same period last year. And sales increased 19% to $551.4 million, from $465.4 million in last year's second quarter. Comparable sales increased 12.8% for the quarter.
The company also says it plans to acquire Boston Proper Inc., a direct-to-consumer retailer of women's apparel, for $205 million.