Discounters offer hope for sluggish November retail sales
Retail chain store sales for November were down 0.3% from November, after two months in a row of gains, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.
While results generally lagged behind analysts' expectations, there were some bright spots and hope. Discounters, including TJX and Ross, continued to thrive.
Limited Brands, which owns Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, saw sales increase 3%, and Pier 1 Imports' were up 13.7%.
Surveys by ICSC and Goldman Sachs show consumers have not finished nearly as much of their shopping this year as they had last year at this time.
So ICSC's Michael Niemira says, "The holiday spending catch-up will occur in December." ICSC expects sales will increase by 2% to 3% from December 2008, in large part because of the later buying.
Some were less positive.
Ken Perkins of the research firm Retail Metrics, called the results "very disappointing," given it was the "easiest monthly comparison this decade."
Warmer-than-usual weather was blamed for some of the slow apparel sales. Retailers hope for cold weather in November so they can sell coats, hats and sweaters at full price.
Retail analyst Jennifer Black says the results really aren't a major source of dismay for retailers, as they didn't order their holiday inventory with positive comparable sales in mind.
Instead, she says, stores cut costs and reduced orders so they wouldn't have to discount as much.
"No one wanted to go out on a limb this year, because no one knew what the economic situation would be like," says Black. "When the economy really gets going, they are all going to be in a great position."
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