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US Same-Store Sales Didn’t Shine in May

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Consumers kept a tight hold on their wallets in May and chain stores paid the price.

Gap Inc. (GPS) said Thursday that net sales for the four-week period ended May 28 fell 5 percent to $1.18 billion, compared to $1.25 billion a year ago, as same-store sales declined at Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy.

The announcement followed the company’s fifth consecutive quarter of falling revenue and profit. But the news wasn’t all bad, as business picked up slightly at Gap: comps decreased 3 percent, an improvement on last May’s 6 percent decline.

However, things deteriorated at Banana Republic (comps were down 11 percent versus negative 5 percent last year) and Old Navy (down 7 percent compared to a 6 percent increase in May 2015), which the company attributed partly to Sunday and Monday of the Memorial Day holiday falling in the fiscal month of June this year.

“As we move into the second quarter, we are continuing to make progress against our recently announced measures while maintaining the financial discipline we are known for,” Sabrina Simmons, chief financial officer, said in a press release, alluding to last month’s announcement that the company would close about 75 stores this fiscal, mostly overseas.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands (LB) reported a 2 percent increase in net sales in May, up from $799.1 million to $816.6 million, but said that comparable sales for the four-week period were flat.

Teen apparel and accessories retailer The Buckle (BKE) had a tough month, too. Sales at stores open for at least a year decreased 11 percent in May, contributing to a 10.4% drop in revenue to $67.4 million, down from last year’s $75.2 million.

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