Retailers post 9th straight month of gains

By Blake Ellis, staff reporter

NEW YORK ( -- Consumers pulled out their wallets and hit their favorite discount and department stores in May, helping retailers post their ninth straight month of increasing sales.

According to sales tracker Thomson Reuters, which looks at monthly same-store sales for 28 leading chains such as Macy's (M, Fortune 500), Target (TGT, Fortune 500), Costco (COST, Fortune 500) and J.C. Penney (JCP, Fortune 500), May sales rose 2.5%, coming in slightly below the firm's initial estimate for an increase of 2.6%.

Same-store sales, a key gauge of a retailer's performance, measure sales at stores open at least a year.

May's 2.5% increase was a big jump from April's small bump of 0.5%, and it was a significant improvement from the 4.8% sales decline retailers posted for the same month a year ago.

Of the 28 stores, 63% beat analysts' expectations, while 37% missed.

Among the best performers last month, discounters posted the largest increase, rising an average of 5.3%. Costco led the way with a 9% rise in May sales, but that increase was slightly below analysts' forecast for an increase of 9.7%.

The company said that higher gasoline prices and stronger foreign currencies pressured sales.

Sales at discounter Target rose 1.3% last month, slightly better than expected.

In the department store arena, Macy's logged a same-store sales gain of 1.4%.

However, some retailers struggled to boost their sales. The Buckle's (BKE) sales fell, 5.4%, a big miss from the 0.6% rise expected by analysts, and sales at Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) declined 3%.

Other clothing retailers such as The Limited, fared better, posting a sales jump of 5%, compared to a forecasts fror a 2.1% increase. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,946.51 72.85 0.29%
Nasdaq 7,481.99 0.25 0.00%
S&P 500 2,752.01 4.68 0.17%
Treasuries 2.85 0.02 0.78%
Data as of 12:29pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Chesapeake Energy Co... 3.06 0.04 1.32%
General Electric Co 14.31 -0.05 -0.35%
Bank of America Corp... 32.17 0.07 0.22%
Ford Motor Co 11.15 0.08 0.72%
Micron Technology In... 60.58 1.74 2.96%
Data as of Mar 16


The European Union has published a long list of American products that it could target if President Donald Trump moves forward with new tariffs on steel and aluminum. More

"It's like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes," Elon Musk, referring to trade rules with China, tweeted to President Donald Trump. More

Good news for procrastinators: You get two extra days to file your federal income taxes. April 15 falls on a weekend and April 16 is a public holiday in the District of Columbia. More