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November Same-Store Sales Disappoint

Retail Forward, ICSC and Retail Metrics have all done their monthly numbers crunching. The verdict is not very good. November same-store sales disappointed. According to ICSC sales were down. Retail Metrics and Retail Forward, however, reported that there was a slight year-over-year raise. What's interesting is that there usually is not this much divergence between the three sources.

According to Retail Forward, sales-weighted same-store sales excluding Walmart increased 0.9 percent in November for the approximately 31 retailers that reported numbers. (A pdf with each retailer's results can be downloaded here.) Frank Badillo, senior economist at Retail Forward, said in a statement, “Shoppers continue to give signs that they are ready to loosen the grip on their spending plans, but at the same time remain very cautious and deal-focused in their spending.”

ICSC's tally of 32 retailers is that same-store sales fell 0.3 percent in November in comparison with last year after rising in both September and October. Here are ICSC's results going back to 1993. According to its report, "These data suggested that the holiday season got off to a weak start in November for retailers--though the tail-end of the month saw relatively strong sales for electronics and online spending, but that seemed to be at the expense of some in-store performance and apparel demand, in particular."

(Click for larger image.)

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Retail Metrics, meanwhile, reported that same-store sales increased 0.9 percent--results the firmed called "a giant miss". Retail Metrics' numbers include 37 retailers. Of those, 14 posted gains, two had flat sales and 21 posted same-store sales declines.

The bottom line is that comp store sales VERY disappointing ahead of the critical December Holiday shopping season. Facing the easiest monthly comparison this decade, retailers managed to eek out a very soft 0.7% increase. This despite increased ad spending and earlier sales events. The standard line from any retailers was a stronger YOY Black Friday weekend was not enough to offset very weak sales throughout most of the month.
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