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Same-Store Sales Trend Lower in October

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Worries about the state of the U.S. economy finally worked their way into same-store sales numbers in October, after several months of surprising stength.

Reuters reports that the U.S. same-store sales index rose only 3.5 percent during the previous month, more than a percentage point below expectations.

Even as the stock market rose, unemployment barely budged, and shoppers faced a barrage of scary headlines last month that gave them pause about spending, experts said.

"This uncertainty, the news changing every day, it causes a freeze," said Wharton School professor Barbara Kahn.

ICSC also reported the slowest month since March 2011, with same-store sales growth of 3.7 percent. Apparel stores posted the worst results, with flat growth. Wholesale clubs performed the best, with growth of 9 percent during the month. Results in most other retail sectors fell below 5 percent.

ICSC's results were based on a survey of 25 chain retailers.

Kantar Retail, which tallied 24 chains, mostly apparel and department stores, reported that its same-store sales index rose 3.9 percent. Like everyone else, Kantar attributed the lackluster results to consumers' worries about the economy.

The blog Retail Sails also reported a 3.9 percent increase, based on its survey of 23 retail chains. According to Retail Sails:

Laggards in October included the usual suspect The Gap (-6%), who announced recently they would close roughly a quarter of their U.S. stores to focus on overseas growth, J.C. Penney (-2.6%) which continues to lose market share to Macy's (+2.2%) and Kohl's (+3.9%), Wet Seal (-9.7%) and Bon-Ton (-10.2%).

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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