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Monthly same-store sales for April are coming in generally lower than expected, as unseasonably cold weather hurt retailers' sales. Weather is usually the default excuse for disappointing retail results, but this year, in the form of a warm January and a frigid April, it has wreaked havoc on apparel chains. That said, the bears will certainly point to this as evidence of a slowdown in consumer spending.

I'm going to use today's results to see which companies best managed their inventories and to find out which ones might be good buying opportunities.

The first candidates that come to mind are those focused on teen apparel.

American Eagle's

(AEO) - Get Report

same-store sales fell 10%, well below the expected 1.3% increase. This chain had been on a tear, and I believe the latest month could be a true anomaly, not a sign that its days of being the fashion of choice are past. If the stock trades down toward $27, I'd look at buying some August $25 calls at around $4 per contract.

On a side note, I was out of the office yesterday, but I couldn't help noticing that my

Tuesday post on



had indicated the stock was poised for another imminent big move. I just didn't realize that imminent meant the very next day. Like I said, you have to be very careful playing these biotech stocks.

Steven Smith writes regularly for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He was a seatholding member of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) from May 1989 to August 1995. During that six-year period, he traded multiple markets for his own personal account and acted as an executing broker for third-party accounts. He appreciates your feedback;

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