Retailers post some hits and misses
Costco, Target and Macy's fell short of analysts' expectations for June sales.
Tepid sales at many retail chains in June reinforced concerns that the U.S. consumer is pulling back on spending amid lingering economic uncertainty.
Issaquah-based Costco reported a gain below Wall Street estimates Thursday, while Target and Macy's also fell short.
But concerns about a slowdown in consumer spending were not reflected in the results of upscale retailers such as Nordstrom.
Seattle-based Nordstrom said its sales at stores open more than a year rose a better-than-expected 8.1 percent, boosted by strong demand for handbags, jewelry and shoes.
Zumiez, a teen-oriented clothing chain based in Everett, posted robust growth of 8.2 percent, narrowly missing analysts' upbeat prediction for an 8.4 percent rise.
Same-store sales at the more than 20 companies tracked by Retail Metrics rose 0.3 percent, compared with the 1 percent average estimate of analysts surveyed by the research firm. The results follow a 7.2 percent increase last year.
Consumers have been spooked by the unemployment rate staying above 8 percent, sending many to discount chains such as TJX, which posted a 7 percent sales gain. TJX, which owns discount stores T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, beat analysts' estimates of a 3.7 percent increase.
At the same time, luxury consumers have continued to spend with the stock market still up for the year.
"The high-end consumer has faired particularly well throughout this recovery," said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics. "On the low end, a lot of middle-income consumers have traded down."
Costco reported a 3 percent gain in sales at stores open more than a year, below the 3.7 percent rise analysts expected.
Excluding the impact of gasoline prices and foreign currencies, Costco said revenue from stores open at least a year climbed 5 percent.
Same-store sales at Limited Brands, parent to Victoria's Secret, gained 7 percent, beating the average estimate of 2.6 percent.
Sales at Target rose 2.1 percent, falling short of the average projection for a 2.8 percent gain from analysts surveyed by Retail Metrics. Macy's, the second-biggest U.S. department-store chain, posted a 1.2 percent increase in same-store sales, missing the 2.3 percent estimate.
Material from Bloomberg News and Seattle Times business reporter Amy Martinez is included.