March Lukewarm for Teen Chains

Hot Topic and Aeropostale post big same-store sales declines.
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Teen apparel chains led off March's retail reports with tepid results, which the companies largely blamed on the shift of Easter into April this year.

Hot Topic

(HOTT)

continued a string of dreary showings, reporting a 12.7% decline in same-store sales and projecting that its first-quarter results will end up in the red. The alternative-stylings seller now sees a loss of 1 cent to 4 cents a share for the quarter ending April 29, based on a projection for a same-store sales drop in the mid- to high-single-digit percentage.

Hot Topic's earlier guidance, given in mid-March, called for earnings of 3 cents to 6 cents a share and a same-store sales drop in the low-single-digit range. Analysts, on average, project earnings of 3 cents a share and revenue of $161 million.

Aeropostale's

(ARO)

same-store sales tumbled 9.3%, while total sales rose to $94.9 million from $87.1 million last year.

"Our results for the month reflect the shift in Easter and our decision to not anniversary certain merchandise classifications which had weak performances last year," said Chairman and CEO Julian Geiger in a statement. "During the month we were able to manage our promotional cadence, while controlling our inventory levels."

American Eagle Outfitters

(AEOS)

, meanwhile, managed to eke out a 3% same-store sales rise for March. The clothing retailer, noting strength in knits, shorts and jeans, said total sales rose 9% to $201.6 million from $185.4 million. The company said it continues to expect first-quarter earnings of 36 cents to 38 cents a share, including about 2 cents in options expense. Wall Street projects earnings of 37 cents a share.

Zumiez

(ZUMZ) - Get Report

kept pace with its recent double-digit same-store sales growth, reporting a 14.3% comp-sale increase for March. The seller of extreme-sports goods said total sales rose to $18.4 million from $13.4 million a year earlier.