Holiday Cheer for Aeropostale and The Buckle

New York City Aeropostale and The Buckle were among the handful of apparel retailers who defined the holiday gloom in December with increases in same-store sales.

Aeropostale Inc. said Thursday its same-store sales jumped 12% in December, surprising analysts who expected a decline. The teen retailer raised its fourth-quarter-profit forecast based on the results.

Aeropostale Inc. said Thursday its same-store sales jumped 12% in December, surprising analysts who expected a decline. The teen retailer raised its fourth-quarter-profit forecast based on the results.

The company said same-store sales have grown 8% in the first 11 months of its fiscal year, and total sales rose 19% to $1.79 billion from $1.51 billion. Analysts expect $1.82 billion in revenue for the full year. Aeropostale said sales of both men's and women's clothing were strong and its promotional plans were successful. Total sales grew 25% to $392.7 million from $313.5 million in the five-week period that ended Tuesday.

The Buckle announced Thursday that December same-store sales increased 13.5%. Net sales for the five-week fiscal month ended Jan. 3 increased 20.8% to $131.2 million from net sales of $108.5 million for the prior year five-week fiscal month ended Jan. 5, 2008.

Same-store sales year-to-date for the 48-week period ended Jan. 3 increased 21.0% compared to the year-ago period.

Urban Outfitters Inc. said Thursday that same-store sales dipped 1% for the holiday season, hurt by bigger discounts and softness in its Anthropologie and Free People brands.

For the two-month period ended Dec. 31, the specialty apparel retailer reported same-store sales fell 6% at Anthropologie and 13% at Free People from a year earlier. But same-store sales for its namesake brand were up 3%. Also, when factoring in a 25% increase in direct-to-consumer sales, same-store sales for the company's retail segment rose 3%.

"The highly promotional selling environment forced us to take higher markdowns vs. the comparable period last year, but we finished the holiday season with clean and lean inventories which are well-positioned for the spring selling season," chief executive Glen T. Senk said in a statement.

Year-to-date same-store sales at Urban Outfitters increased 8%, while total sales surged 23% to $1.3 billion. Direct-to-consumer sales soared 35% during the 11-month period.