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Teen Retailers Impress in December

Stocks in this article: ARO ZUMZ AEO HOTT

(Teen retailer articles updated to reflect Aeropostale's e-comp versus in-store sales.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Teen retailers reported better-than-expected December same-store sales on Wednesday and Thursday, winning a holiday game of chicken with bargain-hunting shoppers.

"Retailers have had twelve months to plan for the holiday season and they did a good job," Stifel Nicolaus analyst Richard Jaffe said. "They had the right product at the right price promoted effectively."

The analyst said that no single tool or promotion worked to attract customers. Each company simply dug deep into its arsenal.

Also this holiday season, teen retailers appear to have demonstrated that many consumers still prefer the in-store shopping experience.

According to the investment firm Needham & Co., online sales comprised just 5% to 10% of the total sales recorded by teen retailers in December. Aeropostale's e-comp sales, for example, were up 44% in December. But even then, they totaled $38 million, which still pales in comparison to the $460.8 million it reaped from its in-store business.

Needham analyst Christine Chen singled out Aeropostale (ARO) as a star December performer. The company posted same-store sales growth of 10% for the month, beating analysts' estimates of 3.1%, despite being up against tougher year-over-year comparisons than other retailers.

Given those December results, Aeropostale, according to Chen, is looking at earnings growth of 32% to 33% for its fourth quarter.

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