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I'm more of a ANF cow than a HOTT gal.


Honey, I'm home.

Back from one of "the Red States" where I kept my Kerry-Calling trick knee swaddled in an American flag so as not to invite a Tonya Harding-type attack.

No rest for the bald and foolish as retail sales are flooding across the wires. So far we've got JCP (JCP: NYSE) messing w/ my jet-lagged head by missing comp sales and guiding higher, blaming a calender shift for pushing sales into November.

Meanwhile, Ann Taylor (ANN: NYSE) flipped the JCP script by beating on SSS but warning big. The company takes Q3 down to .20 vs. .28 - .32 est and Q4 down to .28 - .32 vs. .42 estimates.

In other retail news:

Gymboree (GYMB: NASDAQ) also warns, taking Q3 to .16-18 vs. .20 estimates and Q4 to .25 - .30 vs. .39 estimates.

Gap Inc (GPS: NYSE) reports comps up 3%, announces $250 mln buyback (20.24 ) consensus called for a +1.6% increase in comps. Co expects Q3 earnings of $0.27-0.28 (consensus $0.26), which includes about a penny per share in expenses related to premiums paid on the early retirement of debt due in 2005.

Kohl's (KSS: NYSE) same store sales increased 6%, guides OctQ slightly below consensus (51.07 ) consensus +6.6%. Co expects Q3 (Oct) EPS of $0.41-$0.42 vs consensus of $0.43.

Foot Locker (FL: NYSE) preannounces Q3 revs above consensus (24.45 )

Company issues upside preannouncement for Q3 (Oct), revenues were $1.365 bln, consensus $1.363 bln. "We remain on track to deliver a 10 to 15 percent increase in fully diluted earnings per share from continuing operations versus the third quarter of last year, which is within our previous guidance."

Ross Stores (ROST: NASDAQ) Oct same store sales increase 4.0%, guides Q3 above consensus, sees Q4 in line (26.61 ) consensus 0.1%. Co also guides, sees Q3 EPS of $0.25-0.26, vs consensus of $0.22, on revenues of $1.028 bln, vs consensus of $1.0 bln, based on stronger than expected sales in October and inclusive of gain on sale of the Newark property; sees Q4 EPS of $0.31-0.37, vs consensus of $0.35.

Saks (SKS: NYSE) Oct. same store sales increase 4.4%, beating estimates of 2.8%.

Payless Shoe (PSS: NYSE) same store sales increased 6%, crushing estimates looking for a mid-single digit decline.

Federated (FD: NYSE) Oct. same store sales increase 4.0%, revises Q3 outlook, reaffirms Q4 guidance (49.86 ) consensus 2.8%. Company revises Q3 EPS guidance of $0.38-0.40, vs the Reuters Estimates consensus of $0.32 and prior guidance of $0.30-0.32; co preannounces Q3 revenues of $3.49 bln, vs consensus of $3.56 bln. Co also reaffirms Q4 EPS of $2.45-2.55, vs consensus of $2.49, and expects same-store sales to increase 1.5-3% for the qtr.

Target (TGT: NYSE) same store sales increased 6%. Roughly in-line.

Brown Shoe (BWS: NYSE) reports Oct comps increased 2.3%

Neiman-Marcus (NMG.A: NYSE) Oct. same store sales increase 13.6%; guides above consensus (61.72 ) consensus +8.4%. Company sees Q1 EPS of $1.42-1.47 vs the Reuters Estimates consensus of $1.33.

Charming Shoppes (CHRS: NASDAQ) Oct. same store sales increase 6.0% (7.70 ) consensus -0.1%.

TJ Max (TJX: NYSE) Cos reports Oct comps increased 7%; expects Q3 earnings in line (24.23 )

Co reports Oct comps increased 7% y/y, consensus is 4.4%; Co states, "We are very pleased with our October sales performance, which well exceeded our expectations. We are also delighted with the continued strength of the expanded jewelry/accessories and footwear departments at the Marmaxx division. With our above-plan October sales, we expect earnings per share for the third quarter to be solidly in line with our previously projected range of $.39 - $.42. As we enter the important holiday selling season, our inventories are in excellent shape and we are well positioned to flow fresh, exciting gift assortments at great values throughout the holiday season", Reuters Q3 consensus is $0.39.

Sears, Roebuck (S: NYSE) reports Oct comps increased 1.9%, consensus is -0.3%

Wal-Mart (WMT: NYSE) stated in a regulatory filing that Q3 profit will be reported at the high end of the $0.52 to $0.54 per share forecast. Sales increased by 11% to $182.3 bil, missing expectations. The company is scheduled to report Q3 earnings on November 16 before the market opens. Same store sales increased by 2.8% in October.

"The word" on the Street is that WMT is flexing pricing power muscle with their vendors even more than is normally the case as well as raising prices on non-core product (don't hold your breath waiting for "Watch for Bouncing Prices" ads). A somewhat encouraging tell for margin-pressured retailers... though WMT is unique for sure.

Limited (LTD: NYSE) Oct. same store sales increase 14.0%

CVS (CVS Corp) beats by $0.10, ex items; reports Oct. same store sales of +5.2% (44.38 )

Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.51 per share, excuding $0.07 negative effect from the Eckerd acquisition, $0.10 better than the Reuters Estimates consensus of $0.41; revenues rose 24.0% year/year to $7.91 bln vs the $7.89 bln consensus.

Children's Place (PLCE: NASDAQ) Oct same store sales increase 21.0%

Pier 1 Imports (PIR: NYSE) misses sales and takes Q3 down to .24- .29 vs. .29 street estimates.

Hot Topic (HOTT: NASDAQ), featuring clothes for disenfranchised Grrrrls, missed sales (-3.8% vs. flat estimates) and warns for the quarter, guiding to .27 vs. .30 estimates. The stock is down over 10% (after yelling at its parents for being "lame and sooooo stupid" then stomping into its room and playing rave music at inappropriate volume).

Fred's (FRED: NASDAQ), a discounter based in the South East, missed SSS estimates (up 3.2% vs. 4.1% estimates) and guided Q3 to .18-.20 vs. .22 estimates

Dollar General (DG: NYSE) came close to in-line on SSS, up 3% vs. 3.4% estimates.

Overall same store sales were better than September, generally, with the haves opening up the spread over the "have-nots", as often happens during the holidays. The Bloomberg index for department stores rose 2.84%, Discount Stores (normally Tyson to department stores Michael Spinks) rose 2.9% while the specialty apparel group saw an impressive 7.2% (really making have-not HOTT angry).

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