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Buckle Posts Higher Comps

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The Buckle, Inc. (BKE - Free Report) came up with better-than-expected sales for the month of October (4 weeks ended Nov 2, 2013). The retailer of casual apparels, footwear and accessories for men and women witnessed a 2.6% rise in comps as compared with the year over-year-figure (for the 4-week period ended Nov 3, 2012).

Net sales increased 2.8% to $86.6 million from $84.2 million in the prior-year period. For the 13-week period, Buckle witnessed a 0.5% fall in comps, while net sales increased 0.9% to $286.8 million from $284.1 million in the year-ago period.  

For the 39-week period, Buckle witnessed a 1.2% rise in comps, while net sales increased 3.4% to $789.0 million from $763.4 million in the year-ago period.  

Overall, retailers came up with better sales results for October, amid an environment that witnessed a 16-day government shutdown, an uncertain economic recovery and soft job opportunities. Retailers spent more on promotions and came up with lucrative discounts to drive traffic. However, heavy discounts raise concerns about margins.

Apparel retailer, Stein Mart Inc. impressed analysts by posting a 5.4% rise in comps, while The Gap, Inc. (GPS - Free Report) witnessed a 4% increase in comps. Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST - Free Report) , the warehouse club operator, reported comps growth of 3% for October.

Buckle witnessed an increase of 5% in total sales in the men's category, which comprised roughly 40.0% of Oct 2013 sales. The rise reflected strong sales of denim, knit shirts and footwear.

Women's category, which accounts for 60.0% of total sales for Oct 2013, marked an increase of 1.0% when compared with Oct 2012. The rise reflected strong sales of woven and knit tops, sweaters, accessories and footwear.

On a combined basis, accessory sales rose 5%, while footwear sales rose about 24% during the period under review. These two categories were estimated to be nearly 7.5% and 6.5%, respectively, of October's net sales.

The company opened one store during the month and now operates through 452 retail stores across 43 states. Headquartered in Kearney, Nebraska, shares of Buckle currently carry a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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