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Updated from 9:47 a.m. EDT

Several apparel retailers reported tough going in August as weary consumers were less inclined to profligacy in light of the economic uncertainty.

Women's clothier



said comparable-store sales fell 7.6% in August, although it added that sales at its flagship sites were improving heading into the fall season. Sales at its Ann Taylor division dropped 8.7% in August compared with an 8.2% decrease last year, while sales at Ann Taylor Loft stores fell 5.4%, reversing an 11.8% gain last year. Total sales for the month increased 2.4% to $88.6 million.

"At AnnTaylor stores full price sales grew stronger as the month progressed, signaling approval of our early fall product," the company said in a press release. Looking ahead, the company said it remains comfortable with its current earnings forecast, but that fourth-quarter same-store sales should be flat.

Surfwear and sunglasses merchant



lowered guidance for the second half of 2002, citing weak consumer spending. The company, headquartered in Foothill Ranch, Calif., said it now expects third-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share on revenue of $125 million to $128 million, a 10% to 12% increase.

Oakley projected in July that it would post a net profit of 27 cents a share and 15% sales growth. The company also said it expects fourth-quarter earnings to come in at 10 cents a share, with sales rising 20% to 22% to $108 million to $110 million. Previous guidance called for 16 cents a share and $129 million in revenue.


Children's Place

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said sales at stores open at least a year plunged 16% in the four weeks ended Aug. 31 as back-to-school shoppers were spending less. The company also opened 15 new stores, including four in the U.S. and 11 in Canada, giving it 95 new locations year-to-date.

Not all the news out of the retail space was bad.





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, the nation's leading drugstore chains, both reported a 7.9% spike in same-store sales.

Walgreen, operator of nearly 4,000 locations nationwide, said pharmacy sales rose 13.8%, while sales from its general merchandise division slipped 0.7%. Total sales for August climbed 13.3% to $2.46 billion from $2.17 billion, a year earlier.

CVS, which trails Walgreen in market share, said pharmacy same-store sales increased 11.4%, while its general merchandise unit ticked up 1.3%. Total sales rose 8.2% to $1.80 billion from $1.67 billion. Both issues were trading lower at midmorning.

Elsewhere, wholesale retail outlet


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reported that comparable-store sales rose 6%. Total sales for the month advanced 10% to $3.01 billion from $2.74 billion. Its shares were trading up 2.2% to $33.24.