NEW YORK (Real Money) -- You know what's maddening about this market? The radical inconsistency that we see every single day in the retailer stocks.
Take Tuesday. One of the best stories out there had been Burlington Stores (BURL), which has shown consistently positive comparable store-sales ever since it came "re-public," so to speak, after private equity fixed it up. Before private equity got involved you never knew how this company would do and if the winter wasn't cold enough than the Burlington Coat Factory, as it was called, broke your heart with bad numbers.
Here we just came through a very cold winter and Burlington reports and it shows a pretty dramatic deceleration in its comparable-store sales growth, going from 2.7% to 0.8%. Burlington had been a terrific star since its initial public offering two years ago. Suddenly it's a burnout.
Then there's Five Below (FIVE). I do not have enough fingers to count how many times this retailer has caused consternation, if not tears. One look at the chart shows how many occurrences where Five Below went higher going into a quarter only to have all hopes dashed by shockingly inferior numbers.
But this time around it posted a sensational quarter, amazing given how low the stock was as people had just given up on the darned thing. Apparently they gave up at the bottom.
Urban Outfitters (URBN) had been riding one of the best streaks in all of retail going into its last quarter. While there had never been problems at Free People for the longest time Anthropologie and the flagship Urban had failed to meet expectations.
Then last year Anthropologie fell into place with some really amazing numbers. Soon after the flagship did the same. You finally had all cylinders firing and the company was crowing about it, hence the run-up from $30 to $47 from December until March -- when it lowered the boom and crushed everyone with a severe disappointment at the thought-to-be-red-hot Anthropologie. Ugh -- $47 goes to $34. It's trying to stabilize at the $35 level but do you trust it?