Retail Sales Rise Modestly in September

Fewer retailers are reporting monthly store sales

By Christopher Freeburn, InvestorPlace Writer

Consumers took a breather last month as the back-to-school shopping season faded and retailers reported mixed sales as spending slowed.

Overall same-store sales rose just 0.8% last month, compared to 2011. Analysts had been looking for a 1.6% gain in sales for September. If drugstores were removed, however, same-store retail sales rose 3.6%, which matched Wall Street predictions, the New York Times noted.

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The National Retail Federation projected that holiday shopping season sales would increase 4.1% over last year. That estimate is lower than holiday season growth seen in the last three years, but higher than the average 3.5% annual growth recorded over the last decade, the Associated Press noted.

While the retail industry produces revenue of $2.4 trillion every year, only 13% of U.S. retailers report monthly sales numbers and that number is getting smaller. Target (NYSE:TGT) has announced that it will cease monthly sales reporting.

Costco (NASDAQ:COST) said its September sales at stores open at least twelve months increased 6%. That topped the 5.7% rise that analysts had forecast.

Target announced that same-store sales rose 2.1% over last year, narrowly missing the 2.2% increase predicted by analysts.

Limited Brands (NYSE:LTD) posted a 5% gain in same-store sales, beating the 4.3% rise Wall Street was looking for.

Macy’s (NYSE:M) recorded a 2.5% gain in same-store sales, but analysts were expecting a 3.3% increased.

Gap (NYSE:GPS) and TJX (NYSE:TJX) both saw store sales rise 6% in September.

Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS) noted that its sales fell 2.7% last month, far more than the 0.2% declined that was forecast.

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