November Same-Store Sales Disappoint

Turns out stellar Black Friday sales really don't mean a stellar month.

Thomson Reuters had just released a tally of results for 20 retail chains for the month of November, and same-store sales came in at 3.1 percent--a respectable figure, but still below the 5.5 percent increase recorded in November 2010.

Some retailers were able to profit from super early openings and deep discounts over the Black Friday weekend, but analysts worry that come December, that sales momentum will prove unsustainable.

"Our concern is that deep discounting in November pulled forward sales out of December," said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics.

ICSC also reported that November same-store sales showed the weakest increase since March of this year, at 3.2 percent.

Once again, wholesale clubs were the clear winners, with growth of 9.0 percent, followed by luxury department stores, at 6.5 percent. Same-store sales at apparel stores rose only 0.8 percent. ICSC blamed the poor performance on unseasonably warm weather, as well as tough comparions to same-store sales posted last November. The association included results from 21 retail chains in its roundup.

Same-store sales numbers posted by RetailSails and Kantar Retail were very similar. Both tallied 22 retailers and came up with an increase of 3.3 percent. RetailSails took the lackluster sales growth as another indication that the consumer still feels uncomfortable spending and will only shop for discretionary goods when offered steep discounts.

Kantar Retail offered a somewhat more hopeful take. According to Frank Badillo, senior economist with the firm:

“Retail sales growth into the holidays is reflecting the spending intentions of shoppers. They have pulled back on their spending plans from earlier in the year, but they are loosening the purse strings a bit as the holiday approaches.”
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