* Discounters, warehouse clubs fare well
* Clothing retailers suffer
* Wal-Mart stands by third-quarter outlook, shares rise
By Aarthi Sivaraman
NEW YORK, Oct 8 U.S. discounters like Wal-Mart Stores
Inc (WMT.N) and warehouse clubs performed well in September, while
apparel retailers struggled as the economic slowdown prompted
cash-strapped shoppers to be more thrifty, according to sales data
released on Wednesday.
For months, consumers have sought deals for staples such as food
and fuel, as they battled higher prices, a housing market slump, job
losses and a credit crunch.
Many balked even more at spending in September as a financial
crisis deepened, with several big U.S. financial firms failing or
accepting shotgun buyouts.
Shoppers headed to discounters like Wal-Mart and warehouse clubs
such as Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O) to stock up on necessities
during the month, though sales at both were slightly below
Wal-Mart posted a 2.4 percent increase in September sales at
stores open at least one year. Analysts expected a 2.5 percent
increase, according to Thomson Reuters Estimates.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, stood by its
third-quarter profit forecast calling for earnings of 73 cents to 76
cents per share from continuing operations.
Wal-Mart stock rose 1.8 percent in premarket trading.
Same-store sales jumped 7 percent at Costco Wholesale Corp
(COST.O), less than the 7.5 percent increase analysts expected.
Overall, U.S. retailers were expected to post a rise of 1.5
percent in monthly same-store sales, slightly above the 1.4 percent
rise a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Excluding Wal-Mart, a gain of 0.4 percent was expected overall in
monthly same-store sales for retailers, while department stores and
specialty apparel chains were seen posting steep declines.
Clothing retailers continued to suffer in September, as consumers
avoided spending on discretionary items such as clothes and
Same-store sales at Pacific Sunwear of California Inc PSUN.O
fell 5 percent, better than the analysts' target. But it expects
third-quarter earnings at the low end of its forecast for nil to 5
cents a share as it had to mark down more of its clothing.
Same-store sales fell 7.5 percent at Wet Seal Inc WTSLA.O, and
were flat at Children's Place Retail Stores Inc (PLCE.O) -- both
worse than anticipated.
Same-store sales fell 6 percent at women's clothing retailer
Cache Inc CACH.O, as expected by analysts.
(See here for SHOP
TALK -- Reuters' retail and consumer blog)
(Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)