Retail sales indeed were off as feared during the month of December as consumers pulled back spending in anticipation of failed fiscal cliff negotiations.
Although same-store sales for the 17 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters reported 4.5% increases that beat estimates of 3.3%, the month was mixed at a time when sales are normally the strongest of the entire year.
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Same-store sales for December 2011 were up 4.2%. This year, sales slowed during mid-month but picked back up toward the end. Only by then, significant markdowns reignited sales and that may hurt retailers’ earnings.
To recap a few of the major retailers' reports:
- Target reported flat sales
- Macy’s saw same-store sales increase by 4.1%, it’s fourth consecutive month of increases
- Kohl’s posted a 3.4% gain, better than the estimates for 1.2%
- Gap grew same-store sales by 5%
You can see more individual store results here