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Four key retailers revise guidance for Q3 and beyond

New York - Upon wrapping up their October sales, four key retailers offered updates on their respective guidance for the third quarter and yearend periods.

Given its "strong" third quarter sales performance, Cincinnati-based Macy's said it is raising its guidance for same-store sales growth in the second half of 2012 to approximately 4% -- up from previous guidance of a 3.7% increase. This calculates to guidance for same-store sales in the fourth quarter to grow by about 4.2%, the department store chain noted.

TJX Cos., in Framingham, Mass., is raising its earnings-per-share guidance for the third quarter to $.61 and for the full year fiscal 2013 to $2.44 to $2.47.

Ross Stores, based in Pleasanton, Calif., is now projecting its earnings per share for the 13 weeks ended October 27 to be in the range of $.71 to $.72, "up slightly from our prior guidance of $.70 to $.71, mainly due to higher merchandise margin," noted Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and ceo. "This forecasted range compares to $.63 in earnings per share for the same period last year."

And Memphis, Tenn.-based Fred's Inc. said it now expects its third quarter earnings per share to be in the range of $0.18 to $0.23, a reduction that reflects "the incremental shift in layaway sales, unfavorable LIFO expense charges in the quarter and a single-event increase in insurance reserves, with a combined impact of $0.03 to $0.05 in earnings per share for the quarter," explained Bruce A. Efird, ceo.

But farther down the road, the regional discount chain expects brighter days, as "the implementation of several key new merchandising and marketing initiatives in the fourth quarter and the positive impact of the forward shifting of layaway sales and earnings," are encouraging Fred's to continue to project a double-digit earnings per share improvement for 2012, with full-year earnings per share now expected to be in the rane of $0.96 to $1.02.

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