Updated from 1:48 p.m. EDT

The nation's retailers weighed in with their monthly same-store sales Thursday, and the results were mixed for most of the chain-shop operators.

Many of the closely watched companies reported their results in the morning, and in the aftermath of the flood of reports, the overall sector was a little weaker.

The Dow Jones U.S. Retail Index was down 1.2%, even though several big names raised their guidance for the first quarter.

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

, the world's biggest retailer, always draws attention because by itself it offers so many clues about consumers' spending habits. Wal-Mart said same-store sales rose 3.3% in April, but analysts were expecting an increase of 3.9%.

The company's total sales climbed more than 9% to $17.7 billion. Wal-Mart maintained its previous guidance and said it was comfortable with analysts' estimates, but the company's stock, along with the overall market, was sluggish, falling 2.7% to $54.88.

The montly results of other retailers continue below.

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Report

said total sales in April rose to $89.8 million from $81 million in the same month a year ago, and same-store sales decreased 13%. Analysts expected a decline of 7.5%. The company also said it now expects to slightly exceed the current analysts' consensus earnings estimate of 21 cents a share for the first quarter.

AnnTaylor's

(ANN)

sales increased 9.3% in April, while same-store sales dropped 2.7%. Analysts expected a 3.3% decline. The women's apparel retailer also raised its guidance for the first quarter and now expects earnings of 67 cents a share.

BJ's Wholesale

(BJ) - Get Report

said April same-store came in better than expected with a 4.2% gain. Total sales rose 11.5% to $403.9 million. For the first quarter, same-store sales climbed 4%.

Costco

(COST) - Get Report

said April same-store sales rose 6%. Analysts were looking for a 6.3% increase. Total sales for the month climbed 11% to $2.84 billion.

Dillard's

(DDS) - Get Report

said same-store sales fell 5% last month. Total sales dropped to $548.4 million from $576.1 million in April 2001. Analysts expected a 1% increase in same-store sales.

Factory 2-U

(FTUS)

said it expects to post a first-quarter loss of 24 cents to 27 cents, wider than expected. The company cited a long-term consulting project for developing marketing and merchandising strategies and higher advertising expense.

Federated Department Stores

(FD)

said same-store sales in April fell 5.9%. Total sales dropped 5.6% to $1.10 billion. Federated said first-quarter same-store sales were down 2.9%, but the company still expects earnings for the period to exceed its prior guidance.

Hot Topic

(HOTT)

, a seller of apparel and accessories for teens, said April same-store sales fell 2%, while analysts were looking for a 1% decline. Total sales increased 24%. Net sales for the first quarter grew 27%, and same-store sales slipped 0.5%. The company's board also approved the repurchase of up to 1 million common shares.

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

said comparable department store sales rose 5.5% in April, topping expectations of a 4.2% increase. Comparable drugstore sales for the company's Eckerd unit climbed 5.2%. Total sales rose 1.2% to $2.47 billion last month, and for the latest quarter, sales grew 2.7% to $7.73 billion.

Kohl's

(KSS) - Get Report

said April same-store sales rose 5.3%, edging ahead of analysts' estimates of a 5.2% increase. The company said total sales for the month rose 24.6%. For the first quarter ended May 4, total sales were up 25.7%, and comparable-store sales climbed 9.1%.

Limited

(LTD)

reported flat comparable-store sales in April, while analysts were expecting a 4.4% drop. Total sales reached $620.4 million, an increase of 4% from the same month a year ago. Same-store sales rose 4% for the quarter ended May 4, and total sales grew 7%.

Pacific Sunwear

(PSUN)

reported a greater-than-expected fall in April same-store sales and said first-quarter earnings will trail expectations. The casual clothes retailer said same-store sales dropped 6.7% and predicted it would earn 10 cents a share in the quarter, short of analysts' 13-cent forecasts. Analysts had been calling for unchanged April sales.

Pier 1

(PIR) - Get Report

said April same-store sales rose a better-than-expected 9%. The company again raised first-quarter profit targets, this time to 20 cents to 21 cents a share, up from previously raised guidance of 18 cents to 20 cents a share.

Sears

(S) - Get Report

said same-store sales fell 2.8% in April, while total sales were flat for the month at $2.2 billion. Analysts expected comparable sales to slip 2.3%. "Comparable-store sales for the month were in line with our expectations of a low single-digit decline," the company said in a press release. "We continue to be pleased with our inventory position as well as gross margin performance."

Shoe Carnival

(SCVL) - Get Report

said same-store sales fell 11.3% in April, hurt by an early Easter, but added that better margins will result in higher quarterly earnings. The company forecast first-quarter earnings of 43 cents to 44 cents a share, up from 35 cents a year earlier.

Target's

(TGT) - Get Report

same-store sales inched up 0.4% last month, but analysts were looking for a 3% increase. Total sales increased 9.1% to $2.87 billion.

TJX

(TJX) - Get Report

, the owner of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, said same-store sales rose 4% in April. Analysts were expecting 2.8% growth. Total sales climbed 15% to $899 million for the month. For the quarter ended May 4, same-store sales increased 7%, and total sales were up 17%.

Urban Outfitters

(URBN) - Get Report

said first-quarter same store sales rose 18%, and the company raised its earnings forecast for the quarter. The company expects to earn 22 cents to 25 cents a share.