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Buckle February Comps Decline

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The Buckle, Inc. (BKE - Free Report) , the retailer of casual apparel, footwear and accessories for men and women, witnessed a 1.4% fall in comparable-store sales (comps) for the 4 weeks ended Mar 1, 2014. However, net sales increased 0.2% to $89.5 million from $89.3 million in the prior-year period (ended Mar 2, 2013).

The ice storms due to the polar vortex, which hit a major part of the U.S. in January and February, prevented shoppers from venturing outdoors and consequently, hurt the business of retailers.

However, some other retailers including Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST - Free Report) , Zumiez Inc. and L Brands Inc. (LB - Free Report) emerged strong, gaining from the improved weather in late February, which coincided with the government’s tax refunds that increased the purchasing power of consumers. The above-mentioned companies recorded comps growth of 2% each for the 4 weeks ended Mar 1, 2014.

Buckle witnessed a marginal rise of 1% year over year in total sales in the men's category, which contributed nearly 41% to Feb 2014 sales. Women's category, which accounted for 59% of total sales in Feb 2014, fell 1% year over year.

On a combined basis, accessory sales increased 2% while footwear sales rose 2.5%% in the reported month. Notably, these two categories are estimated to have constituted nearly 8% and 5.5%, respectively, of February's net sales.

Buckle is scheduled to announce fourth-quarter results on Mar 14. Our proven model does not conclusively show Buckle as likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate this quarter. This is because Buckle carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and a negative Earnings ESP of 1.65% (as the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at $1.21 and the Most Accurate Estimate is $1.19). For a stock to outperform, it needs both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank of #1, 2 or 3.

As of Mar 6, 2014, Kearney, Nebraska-based Buckle operates 450 retail stores across 43 states.

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