May 3 - Consumers like what they see at clothing stores. While they may not buy as much, they aren't waiting for massive sales to upgrade their wardrobes. Bobbi Rebell reports.
There were fewer sales signs in April at the nation's retailers. Many clothing stores were able to hold the line on prices thanks to popular new spring styles. Brian Sozzi of independent research firm NBG Productions says the new, brighter styles were hard to resist. SOUNDBITE: BRIAN SOZZI, CHIEF EQUITY ANALYST, NBG PRODUCTIONS (ENGLISH ) SAYING: "It hit the consumers with so much newness, so many new styles that they didn't have in their closets last year, it almost forced them to buy things so those purchases that really aren't needs turned into needs. " That said, several large U.S. retailers, including Target, Macy's and Gap, missed sales estimates for April. That's in sync with broader trends as the recent cooler weather chilled some of the shopping enthusiasm seen earlier in the year. The calendar was also unkind - an early Easter pulled sales into March, while a late Mothers Day pushes those sales to May. REPORTER BRIDGE: BOBBI REBELL, REPORTER, REUTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: But the popular spring styles at stores like Gap are paying off. Even if they are not selling as much, what they do sell is at a higher profit margin, which is better for the bottom line. And of course consumers that come in and like what they see are more likely to come back and shop again. SOUNDBITE: BRIAN SOZZI, CHIEF EQUITY ANALYST, NBG PRODUCTIONS (ENGLISH ) SAYING: "What is happening is the consumer is actually realizing that they have product that they can wear. That they can wear out on a night on the town. They can wear out to dinner, and this has not been the case for the past couple of years." And that consumer enthusiasm is paying off. Gap says its first quarter earnings will be better than Wall Street estimates. Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.