Markets & Finance

Wal-Mart Posts Higher December Sales


CVS, Target report December sales gains while Gap posts a decline; plus more stocks in the news Thursday

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchWal-Mart Stores(WMT) posted 1.6% higher total US Dec. same-store sales and 8.8% higher total sales. The company expects U.S. January same-store sales growth to be between 1% and 2%; it reiterates earnings per share (EPS) guidance of 88 to 92 cents in the second quarter and $2.85 to $2.89 for fiscal 2007.

Target (TGT) posted 4.1% higher December same-store sales and 9.9% higher total sales. The company sees January same-store sales up 3.5% to 5.5%.

CVS (CVS) posted 8.5% higher December same-store sales and 24% higher total sales.

J.C. Penney (JCP) posted 2.6% higher December comp-dept store sales and 4.2% higher total sales. The retailer expects January comp-dept store sales to increase in the low-single digits and direct sales are expected to be down slightly.

Gap (GPS) posted 8% lower December same-store sales and 4.1% lower total sales. The company notes it continued to experience negative traffic trends at Gap and Old Navy. Cuts $1.01 to $1.06 fiscal year 2007 EPS guidance to between 83 and 87 cents.

Saks(SKS) posted 11% higher December same-store sales and 13% higher total sales. S&P raised its opinion to buy.

Hot Topic(HOTT) posted 5.1% lower December same-store sales and slightly lower total sales. The company cut its 33-38 cents fourth quarter EPS guidance to 20-22 cents. S&P reiterates sell. Cowen cuts estimates, maintains neutral.

Monsanto(MON) posted $0.16 vs. $0.11 first quarter EPS on a 9.5% sales rise. The company expects fiscal year 2007 EPS could be toward the upper end of a previously announced range of $1.50 to $1.57, both on a reported and ongoing basis.

Anntaylor Stores (ANN) posted 5.3% lower December same-store sales and a 2.4% total sales rise. Due to December's softness, it now expects fiscal year 2007 EPS to be somewhat below its previous guidance of $2.07 to $2.12.

Limited Brands (LTD) posted a 4% December same-store sales rise and 6% total sales rise.


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