Markets & Finance

Investors Mark Down Chico's, A&F


Shares of Chico's FAS (CHS) dropped sharply Thursday after the retailer posted 24 cents vs. 18 cents fourth quarter EPS on 15% higher same-store sales and 32% higher total sales. The company says growth strategies are likely to impact gross and operating margins. S&P upgraded the shares to buy from strong buy. Prudential cut its rating to underweight.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) also fell after the apparel chain posted lower-than-expected 5% rise in Feb. same-store sales and 21% higher total sales. S&P views the weakness in the shares as a buying opportunity and reiterates its strong buy opinion.

Dana (DCN) shares plunged after the company said it did not make the March 1, 2006 interest payments on its 7% Senior Notes due March 1, 2029, or on its 6-1/2% Senior Notes due March 1, 2009. The aggregate amount of these interest payments is about $21 million.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) posts 3.2% higher February same-store sales and 12% higher total sales. It says that due to a shift for Easter week, it estimates comp-store sales in the US for the March period to be between 1% to 3%.

Target (TGT) posts 3.6% higher same-store sales and 11% higher total sales.

Walgreen (WAG) posts 5.7% higher February same-store sales and 10% higher total sales.

Anntaylor Stores (ANN) posts 5.4% lower February same-store sales and 18% higher total sales.

Gap (GPS) posts a February same-store sales drop of 11% and total sales drop of 6%.

New York & Co (NWY) posts 13% lower February same-store sales and 6.1% lower total sales. It cuts its $298 million to $302 million first quarter total sales forecast to between $277 million and $282 million, as well as its 38 cents to 42 cents earnings per share forecast to 29 cents to 23 cents. It also cuts its $1.12 to $1.28 fiscal year 2007 earnings per share (EPS) forecast to between $1.06 and $1.16.

Costco Wholesale (COST) posts 62 cents vs. 62 cents second quarter EPS despite a 7% same-store sales rise and 11% total sales rise.

Men's Wearhouse (MW) posts 60 cents vs. 45 cents fourth quarter EPS (GAAP) on 6.1% higher U.S. same-store sales and 8.4% higher total sales. It sees $2.28 to $2.35 fiscal year 2007 EPS (GAAP).

Longs Drug Store (LDG) posts 92 cents vs. 47 cents fourth quarter EPS on 2% higher retail same-store sales and 5.2% higher pharmacy same-store sales and 3.8% higher total revenue. It sees a 10% to 12% fiscal year 2007 revenue rise, and $1.70 to $1.80 EPS including stock option expense.

Petsmart (PETM) posts 47 cents vs. 41 cents fourth quarter EPS (non-GAAP) on 4.5% higher same-store sales and 12% higher total sales. It sees 28 cents to 30 cents first quarter EPS and $1.37 to $1.39 in fiscal year 2007.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) posts 11% lower February same-store sales and 6.5% lower total sales.

Chico's FAS (CHS) posts 24 cents vs. 18 cents fourth quarter EPS on 15% higher same-store sales and 32% higher total sales. It says growth strategies are likely to impact gross and operating margins.

Kraft Foods (KFT) sets a $2 billion stock buyback.

Del Monte Foods (DLM) posts 26 cents vs. 23 cents third quarter EPS from continuing operations on a 2% sales rise. Separately, it agrees to buy privately-held Meow Mix Holdings, Inc. for about $705 million, which includes about $23 million in tax benefits.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) posts 5% higher February same-store sales and 21% higher total sales. Comparables are below the Street estimate.

Fluor (FLR) posts 74 cents vs. 57 cents fourth quarter EPS on a 45% revenue rise. It says EPS guidance for 2006 remains in the range of $2.80 to $3.10, including costs and the adoption of FASB-123R.

Versant (VSNT) posts 22 cents vs. 10 cents first quarter EPS from continuing operations as lower cost of revenue and lower operating costs offset a 12% revenue decline. It is confident it can meet and exceed its net income target for fiscal year 2006.

Sharper Image (SHRP) posts 31% lower February same-store sales and 33% lower total sales. It expects the company's reduced advertising to contribute to continued lower year-over-year sales results.


Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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