March sales rise at Costco, Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands

SEATTLE, Wash., Thu Apr 11, 2013 — Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a slightly smaller-than-expected jump in same-store sales in March on Thursday, hurt by weak international results and lower gas prices, while Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands Inc. reported better-than-expected sales at all of its chains.

Costco fared better in the United States, where sales at stores open at least a year rose 5 percent, largely in line with expectations. Small appliances, jewelry and fresh food showed some of the biggest gains.

L Brands saw continued improvement at its La Senza chain as well as an unexpected rise in same-store sales at Bath & Body Works. Companywide, same-store sales rose 3 percent, while Wall Street expected them to be flat, according to Thomson Reuters.

Analysts expect 13 top U.S. retailers, including T.J. Maxx parent TJX Cos. Inc. and Gap Inc., to post a 1.8 percent rise in same-store sales for March, according to Thomson Reuters, down from a rise of 2.9 percent in March 2012. They will report later Thursday.

There have been concerns a tightening job market could hurt consumer spending. The U.S. labor market recovery showed signs of losing momentum in March as employers hired at the weakest pace in nine months.