Retail Forward, ICSC and Retail Metrics have all crunched the numbers. The verdict: Retailers posted year-over-year same-store sales gains in October for the sector's best single month since April 2008. The one giant caveat to the figures is that the year over year comparisons are now much more generous than what the industry had been facing previously. Retail sales began to tank last fall. For example, last October, same-store sales fell 4.2 percent in October, 7.7 percent in November and 4.6 percent in December on year-over-year bases.
According to Retail Forward, sales-weighted same-store sales excluding Walmart increased 2.3 percent in October for the approximately 30 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, "October again showed positive signs from shoppers, although the improvement was less even among retailers compared with the back-to-school months. Households remain focused on shopping for needs and this kind of cautious shopping behavior will restrain the sales improvement we can expect in the coming months."
ICSC's preliminary tally is that same-store sales grew 2.1 percent in October in comparison with last year. Here are ICSC's results going back to 1993.
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Retail Metrics, meanwhile, reported that same-store sales increased 2.2 percent. Retail Metrics' numbers include 43 retailers. Of those, 17 posted gains, one had flat sales and 25 posted same-store sales declines.
Despite the beat the results were somewhat mixed as teen apparel retailers laid an egg in October with an aggregate 4.7% decline, which was far short of expectations. Department stores gave a lift to the month as both high end chains Saks and Nordstrom beat expectations and the group exceeded estimates by 60 bp with a 0.8% decline. This marked the group's best comp since Apr-08.