Retail Sales Poised to Deceive

July same-store sales are expected to be weak -- but analysts are cautioning that the month may not be a true measure for the second-half of the year.
Author:
Publish date:

Updated with closing prices.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- While it's easy to get worked up over dismal same-store results, investors might do well not to get too upset over what's expected to be a dismal July.

The month, after all, has a lot riding against it.

State tax-free holidays have boosted July sales in recent years, but this year, in most places, such holidays are being pushed backto the first week in August,

postponing consumers from starting back-to-school shopping

.

As a result, the International Council of Shopping Centers expects July sales to be off 5.5%, with the last week of the month seeing sales decline 0.2%.

"July sales are likely to be weak due to sharp markdowns on clearance items and, in some cases, more limited inventory to clear, as well as cooler-than-normal weather for the month that pared seasonal demand," Michael P. Niemira, ICSC chief economist, said in a statement.

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Report

once again is expected to report double-digit same-store sales decline. Even though merchandise has improved, traffic to the store remains slow.

And any hopes for a near-term turnaround at

American Eagle Outfitters

(AEO) - Get Report

could well be dashed, as fashion retail remains generally weak, and remains coupled with a lack of full-price selling, according to Brean Murray Carret analyst Eric Beder.

Meanwhile,

Gap

(GPS) - Get Report

is still expected to post negative results in the range of 9% to 11%, compared with an 11% drop last year

Still, while most retailers are expected to post negative results, there will likely be a few winners.

Analysts are predicting that

Aeropostale

(ARO)

and

Buckle

(BKE) - Get Report

should continue to post positive comparable sales, while comparisons should also begin to ease for

Target

(TGT) - Get Report

.

Off-price

TJX

(TJX) - Get Report

should also post positive results in the range of 1% to 3%, according to J.P. Morgan analyst Brian Tunick.

Tunick says rival

Ross Stores

(ROST) - Get Report

should be flat compared to a 4% jump last year.

Abercrombie & Fitch closed at $29.36, 70 cents off; Aeropostale slipped $1.74 to close at $36.15; Target closed at $42.17, down 2.02%; Buckle closed down 28 cents at $31.08; American Eagle Outfitters slipped 53 cents to $14; Gap slipped 54 cents to $16.66 and TJX gave back 2.13%, or 78 cents, to close at $35.76.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.