Retail Sales In August Not On Life Support

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Just yesterday and the day before, the tone was looking to be that sub-prime fallout and the recent tightening on credit was helping to squash Joe Q. Consumer in the U.S.  Yesterday, CostCo (COST) shares were hit hard on a big miss in same store sales gains.  J.C.Penney (JCP) just yesterday also gave -4% s-s-s, although that was a tad better than the -5% estimate.

But this morning both Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT) beat sales same store sales expectations with +3.1% and +6.1% respectively.  Take a look at these other same store sales (s-s-s) numbers from some of the larger chain retailers:

Saks (SKS) s-s-s +18.2% vs. +9.2% estimates.  This is the s-s-s winner, by far.  Shares are up over 4% pre-market and still only about 10% above 52-week stock lows.  At $16.00 pre-market, this is well under the $23.25 yearly high.

Nordstrom (JWN) +6.6% s-s-s vs. +6.3% estimates.

TJX (TJX), the owner of discounter TJMAXX and Marshall’s, posted +4% s-s-s vs. 3.8% estimates.

NEGATIVES:

Kohl’s (KSS) s-s-s -0.6% compared to +2.7% estimates.

Dillard’s (DDS) s-s-s were -5%, compared to -2.9% estimates.

Gap Inc. (GPS) s-s-s were -1%, although analysts were looking for -2%.

These are just a snapshot, but regardless of the overall estimates it does not appear that Joe Q. Consumer is dead.  It seems every time that the consumer is ruled dead on arrival that he or she pops up again.  This doesn’t even look like zombie mode either.

The biggest example of the sector winning today is the key ETF used to measure the group with the ML RETAIL HOLDRs (RTH), with shares up over 1% pre-market.

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he produces the 24/7 Wall St. SPECIAL SITUATION INVESTING NEWSLETTER and he does not own securities in the companies he covers.