Retail Upgrades & Downgrades: TJX, BJ's

Retailers receive ratings revisions following March same-store sales results.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Retailers received some upgrades and downgrades on Friday following

March same-store sales results

.

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

was upgraded by Goldman Sachs on Friday to buy and was added to the brokerage firm's conviction list, expecting to see a sales recovery in 2010.

The department store reported on Thursday a 5.4% jump in March same-store sales, which fell short of analysts estimates of a 5.7% increase.

Still, J.C. Penney upped its first-quarter forecast to a range of 20 cents to 24 cents a share, from prior outlook of 16 cents to 20 cents a share.

Shares of J.C. Penney are rising 1.4% to $31.42 in afternoon trading.

As Goldman put J.C. Penney on its conviction buy list, it removed

TJX

(TJX) - Get Report

, but it maintained its buy rating on the stock.

The off-price retailer posted a 12% surge in comparable sales, nearly double the 6.5% gain Wall Street predicted.

As a result, it also lifted its first-quarter guidance, now anticipating a profit between 76 cents and 79 cents a share compared with previous guidance of 60 to 65 cents.

But Goldman foresees slower sales and earnings growth going forward. Shares of TJX are slipping 0.9% to $44.44 in morning trading.

American Eagle Outfitters

(AEO) - Get Report

was downgraded by Bank of America/Merrill to underperform from neutral on valuation. But it's price target was still raised to $23 from $18.

The teen retailer saw a 15% spike in its same-store sales, but failed to raise its first-quarter estimate, disappointing investors.

Despite missing analysts' March forecasts, rival

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Report

was upgraded by Bank of America/Merrill to neutral from underperform and its price target was boosted to $50 from $37.

Bank of America sees significant opportunities for growth in Abercrombie's international expansion. Shares of Abercrombie are advancing 1.9% to $47.83 in morning trading.

BJ's Wholesale Club

(BJ) - Get Report

was upgraded to neutral from underperform by Credit Suisse, and its price target was hiked to $40 from $31.

The news sent shares gaining 2.4% to $37.15 in afternoon trading.

Credit Suisse said the pressure from

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

isn't intensifying and food inflation could boost BJ's.

BJ's reported a 10.6% uptick in same-store sales, better than the 9.3% gain analysts were predicting.

Williams-Sonoma

(WSM) - Get Report

was upgraded to outperform by Oppenheimer, as cost cuts and restructuring are expected to boost results as the economy improves.

"We believe that aggressive structural shifts at Williams-Sonoma will serve to enhance an already accelerating cyclical recovery at the chain and drive operating margins from still depressed levels to above historic peaks," analyst Brian Nagel wrote in a note.

The home furnishing retailer has cut jobs and closed some operational facilities amid the recession.

Shares of Williams-Sonoma are jumping 4.7% to $29.39 in afternoon trading.

Zale

(ZLC)

is plunging after Soleil Securities downgraded the retailer to sell from hold, saying bankruptcy is still a possibility despite private-equity interest in the jeweler.

Shares of the company are plunging 11.1% to $3.38 in afternoon trading.

Family Dollar Stores

(FDO)

was also downgraded to underweight from neutral by Piper Jaffray.

Earlier this week the discounter saw its second-quarter earnings jump 33%, beating estimates. The better-than-expected results prompted the company to raise its full-year outlook.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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