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US retailers report strong gains for September, aided by cooler weather and falling gas prices

US retailers report strong gains for September, aided by cooler weather and falling gas prices

Shoppers, encouraged by cooler temperatures and easing gasoline prices, went on a shopping spree in September, resulting in better-than-expected gains for many merchants and lifting the industry's spirits in advance of the holiday season.
As retailers began reporting their results Thursday, the winners crossed many categories and included Bebe Stores Inc., Children's Place Retail Stores Inc., Nordstrom Inc. and Limited Brands Inc.
"This is a really strong month," said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics LLC, a research firm in Swampscott, Massachusetts. "The back-to-school momentum was strong, weather was really favorable and the big plummet in gasoline prices certainly put more disposable money into consumers' wallets."
Of the first 26 retailers to report September results, 19 merchants topped analysts' expectations and seven fell short, according to Thomson Financial.
The news was encouraging as analysts had been bracing for a consumer spending slowdown in the second half of the year as the economy slowed. But the deteriorating housing market remains a big concern. In the last few years, a booming housing market and record-low interest rates spurred spending as consumers taped into their rising home equity.
Meanwhile, even though the New York-based Conference Board reported last week a rebound in consumer confidence in September, the survey showed consumers' lingering concerns about the health of the job market. Employment showed modest gains in August, with wages barely up, and analysts are forecasting only a modest increase of 120,000 jobs for September. The Labor Department will report that figure on Friday.
Nordstrom reported a 13.4 percent gain in sales at stores opened at least a year, known as same-store sales. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected a 3.8 percent increase.
Limited's same-store sales gain jumped 12 percent, much better than the 3.2 percent decline Wall Street anticipated. And Bebe reported a 15.3 percent same-store gain, topping the 10.7 percent expected by analysts, while the Children's Place's same-store sales gain soared 20 percent, exceeding the 14.6 percent estimate from Wall Street.
But Pier 1 Imports, whose Chairman and Chief Executive Marvin Girouard recently announced he would retire early next year amid a three-year slump, continues to struggle. The retailer posted a 10.1 percent decline in same-store sales in September, worse than the 7.7 percent dip that Wall Street expected.
On Wednesday, Hot Topic, Inc. reported a 7.3 percent decline in same-store sales, worse than the 5.6 drop that analysts had projected, and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. reported a 19 percent gain in same-store sales, better than the 11.3 percent increase. On Tuesday, Kohl's Corp. reported a robust 16.3 percent gain in same-store sales, exceeding the 8 percent estimate.


Updated : 2021-03-06 16:54 GMT+08:00