The following is a general round-up of apparel and shoe chains' July sales results which have been released over the past few days. The list will be updated as new results become available.

Men's apparel retailer Men's Wearhouse reported net sales for the four weeks ended 31 July of $94.0 million. This compares to sales of $84.2 million for the same prior year period, an increase of 11.6 per cent. US comparable store sales for the four weeks increased 5.5 per cent and Canadian comparable store sales increased 20.6 per cent when compared to the same period a year ago. Strong suit sales and growth of the company's tuxedo rental program contributed the results.

July retail sales at fashion company Guess? Inc were $48.5 million, an increase of 19.7 per cent from sales of $40.5 million for the same period last year. Comparable store sales for the July period increased 14.1 per cent.

Women's value retailer The Cato Corporation reported sales of $55.5 million for the four weeks ended 31 July, a 2 per cent increase over sales of $54.2 million for the same month of 2003. Comparable store sales for the month decreased 3 per cent.

Same-store sales at Payless ShoeSource decreased 6.5 per cent during July. The specialty footwear retailer said sales totalled $192.0 million, a 5.7 per cent decrease from $203.6 million during fiscal July of last year.

Off-price retailer The TJX Companies Inc posted July sales of $1.0 billion, up 12 per cent over the $899 million achieved during the same month of 2003. Same-store sales in July increased 3 per cent over last year. For the 26 weeks ended 31 July, sales reached $6.8 billion, a 15 per cent increase over last year's $5.9 billion and consolidated comparable store sales rose 6 per cent.

July same-store sales at Deb Shops Inc increased 5.8 per cent. Total sales rose 6.0% to $23.9 million from $22.6 million for the same month of 2003. The apparel retailer also said that for the quarter ended 31 July same-store sales decreased 0.5 per cent and total sales decreased 0.3 per cent to $72.6 million from $72.8 million for the prior year quarter.

Net sales from The Gymboree Corporation's retail operations for the four-week period ended 31 July were $41.0 million, an increase of 17 per cent compared to $35.0 million for the same four-week period last year. Comparable store sales for the four-week period increased 12 per cent versus flat comparable store sales for the same period last year.

"While our comparable sales were strong in July, gross margins were lower than expected due to a high percentage of sales of discounted merchandise," said Lisa Harper, chairman and chief executive officer, The Gymboree Corporation.

Career and casual fashion retailer The Dress Barn Inc reported that total sales for July increased 3 per cent to $49.7 million. This compares to $48.2 million for the comparable month last year. Same-store sales increased 1 per cent.

Net sales of $143.7 million were posted by Abercrombie & Fitch for the four-week period ended 31 July 2004. This represents an 8 per cent increase over last year's July sales of $133.2 million. July comparable store sales decreased 9 per cent versus the same four-week period in 2003. Year-to-date, the company reported a net sales increase of 16 per cent to $813.3 million from $702.4 million last year. Comparable store sales declined 3 per cent for the year-to-date period.

Brown Shoe Company Inc announced July retail sales at Famous Footwear, its chain of 915 family footwear stores, were $86.10 million for the four-week period ended 31 July 2004. This compares to $85.10 million for the same period last year. Same-store sales for July decreased 2.0 per cent.

Retail sales at Brown Shoe's Naturalizer retail division, a 380-store chain selling the Naturalizer brand of women's footwear in the US and Canada, were $13.6 million for the month, compared to $13.2 million last July. Same-store sales for July decreased 0.6 per cent.

United Retail Group Inc reported that net sales for July 2004 were $27.3 million, flat with the same period last year. Comparable store sales increased 1 per cent for the month. For the second fiscal quarter, net sales were $101.3 million compared with $104.8 million in the same period last year. Comparable store sales decreased 2 per cent for the quarter.

Comparable store sales at Claire's Stores Inc increased 9 per cent in July after increasing 4 per cent during the corresponding four-week period last year. Total sales during the four-week period ended 31 July rose 15 per cent to $98.8 million against $85.6 million for the comparable four-week period last year.

Maternity apparel retailer Mothers Work Inc announced that net sales for the month of July 2004 increased 6.8 per cent to $42.1 million from $39.4 million reported for the month of July 2003. Comparable store sales for July 2004 decreased 2.6 per cent (based on 882 locations) versus a comparable store sales increase of 2.9 per cent (based on 841 locations) for the July 2003 period. During July 2004, the Company opened 6 locations and closed 6 locations, ending the month with 1,109 locations.

New York-based women's retailer Cache Inc reported that same-store sales (sales for stores open at least one year or more) decreased 4 per cent during the four week July 2004 period, as compared to the same period in 2003. Total sales for the four-week period ended 24 July increased $0.5 million or 4 per cent to $13.3 million.

Mr Brian Woolf, Cache's chairman said: "July comparable store sales were in line with our expectations and primarily reflected a reduction in dress clearance inventory, as compared to July last year, which caused total comparable store sales to decline by 4 per cent."

Men's wear retailer JoS A Bank Clothiers Inc announced that its total sales for fiscal July rose 34.3 per cent to $23.5 million compared with $17.5 million in July 2003. Same-store sales increased 14.5 per cent versus the month of July 2003, while combined catalog and Internet sales were up 26.7 per cent. The 14.5 per cent comparable store sales gain follows an increase of 19.4 per cent in July 2003. The company said that all major product categories posted sales gains in July 2004, with the strongest increases in tailored clothing, shirts and ties.

Leather outerwear, accessories and apparel retailer Wilsons The Leather Experts Inc reported that sales for the four weeks ended 31 July increased 3.5 per cent to $18.4 million versus to $17.7 million last year. Comparable store sales increased 21.1 per cent for the four weeks ended 31 July 2004; this increase compares to a 10.5 per cent decrease in comparable store sales for the four weeks last year. Joel Waller, chief executive officer said the company was very pleased with its comparable store sales performance in July. 

Gottschalks Inc's July same-store sales were slightly below the company's expectations on weaker home-store sales. The department store chain reported a 0.4 per cent decline in July same-store sales. Total sales for the month fell 1.5 per cent to $41.4 million from $42.0 million last year.

Saks Inc's July same-store sales rose 5.5 per cent, boosted mainly by a double-digit sales gain at its Saks Fith Avenue stores and Saks Off 5th stores segment. The retailer said same-store sales increased 0.8 per cent at its larger Saks Department Store Group segment, while monthly same-store sales rose 13 per cent at its Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises segment. Total sales for the four weeks ended July 31 rose 7.3 per cent to $388.9 million from $362.3 million a year ago.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it had a 3.2 per cent gain in same-store sales in July. Total sales were up 10.9 per cent. At Wal-Mart's store division, same-store sales were up 2.4 per cent, while results at Sam's Clubs were up 7.7 per cent. 

Youth-oriented clothing retailer Wet Seal Inc said sales at stores open at least a year dropped 14.7 per cent in July to $32.7 million, from $39.8 million last year. Comparable store sales declined 14.7 per cent during July, compared to a decline of 12.1 per cent in the same period a year ago.

Mall-based retailer Hot Topic said total sales for July increased 13 per cent to $47.4 million, from $42.1 million a year ago. The company posted total second-quarter sales of $136.3 million, up 18 per cent from a year ago. Same-store sales for the quarter fell 2.1 per cent.

Upscale department store chain Nordstrom Inc reported a 6.1 per cent rise in July sales at stores open at least a year. The Seattle-based retailer said preliminary data indicated sales for the four weeks ended 31 July rose 8.9 per cent to $686 million. As of July 31, the company had 180 stores in operation, of which 93 were full-line.

Christopher & Banks Corporation posted an 8 per cent rise in July sales to $36.8 million from $34.1 million last year. Same-store sales declined 5 per cent.

Retailer Stein Mart Inc said total sales in July rose to $81.8 million from $80.5 million in the same period last year, an increase of 1.6 per cent. Same-store sales in July were up 6.2 per cent. All the ready-to-wear divisions continued to perform well as did ladies' accessories and intimate apparel. Geographically, sales were positive in all regions.

Charming Shoppes Inc, a retail chain specialising in women's plus-size apparel, reported that total sales for the four weeks ended 31 July were $169.8 million versus $170.5 million for the same four weeks in 2003. Comparable store sales for Charming Shoppes Inc dropped 1 per cent in July.

The Talbots Inc announced that total sales for fiscal July fell 3 per cent to $97.2 million from $100.5 million for the four week period last year. Comparable store sales decreased 8.8 per cent for the month.

Pacific Sunwear of California Inc reported a 16.1 per cent increase in total sales for the four weeks of July to $97.2 million. Company same store sales increased 6.0 per cent. PacSun same store sales increased 6.1 per cent and d.e.m.o. same store sales increased 4.7 per cent.

Private label women's wear retailer Chico's FAS Inc posted a 49 per cent hike in July sales to $71.1 million from $47.7 million for the prior year's period. Comparable store sales for the company-owned stores increased 13.7 per cent.

Casual apparel and footwear retailer The Buckle Inc said July sales increased 7.9 per cent to $34.7 million from sales of $32.2 million. Comparable store sales, for stores open at least one year, rose 2.4 per cent.

Limited Brands reported flat comparable store sales for the four weeks ended 31 July compared to the four weeks last year. Net sales were $575.3 million compared to sales of $563.2 million last year said the retailer, which operates Victoria's Secret, Express, Express Men's, and Limited Stores.

Shoe Carnival Inc, retailer of value-priced footwear and accessories, said July sales fell to $46.4 million from $47.2 million last year. Comparable store sales decreased 6.3 per cent in July 2004.

Stage Stores Inc reported that total sales for the four-week period ended 31 July increased 26.5 per cent to $89.2 million versus $70.5 million for the prior year period. The increase in total sales resulted primarily from the inclusion of the Peebles stores in this year's results, as well from the sales generated by the 14 net new stores that have been added subsequent to July of last year. Comparable store sales decreased 7.8 per cent versus an increase of 0.9 per cent last year.

Bebe stores Inc reported retail sales of $31.3 million for July, an increase of 20.4 per cent on sales of $26.0 million last year. Same store sales increased 9.7 per cent.

AnnTaylor Stores Corp reported a 2.1 per cent decline in July sales at stores open at least a year. The New York clothing retailer said total sales for the four weeks ended 31 July rose 11.1 per cent from a year earlier to $129.4 million.