Retailers gain in Jan. as shoppers shook off the snow

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Costco had a 10 percent gain in revenue at stores opened at least a year; analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected an increase of 7 percent.

Target Corp. had a 1.7 percent increase in revenue at stores opened at least a year, slightly below the 1.9 percent gain that Wall Street projected. The low increase marked the second consecutive month of disappointing results.

CEO and Chairman Gregg Steinhafel said business was particularly weak in the South and Northeast, regions hit hard by snowstorms. He said Target still is counting on expanded food sections and its 5 percent discount for those who pay with its credit or debit card to drive increases this year.

Among department stores, Macy's, powered by its focus on exclusive merchandise and by its moves to tailor merchandise to local markets, posted a 2.6 percent gain. That was better than the 2.1 percent estimate from Wall Street.

“While sales in January were restrained by the series of snowstorms that caused widespread store closing along the East Coast and in the Southeast U.S., we continued to benefit from the underlying strength of our business,” Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.

J.C. Penney had a disappointing 1.2 percent decline. The company said top-performing regions were the Southwest and Northwest. The snow-laden Northeast and Southeast were weaker.

Nordstrom enjoyed a 4.8 percent gain, while Saks Inc. had a 4.4 percent increase.

Limited reported a stellar 24 percent gain in revenue at stores opened at least a year and boosted its profit outlook for the fourth quarter. Business was helped by a twice-a-year sale at Victoria's Secret that moved to January from December, but the results continued a long streak of big gains.

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