RAPAPORT... Preliminary retail sales for October were largely in-line with expectations, however, sales growth rates at high-end retailers softened from previous months. Luxury retailer Nordstrom reported a 5.4 percent year on year increase in same-store sales for October and preliminary total sales of $749 million, an increase of 13 percent from October 2010. Meanwhile, Saks registered very little change in sales with same-store revenue up only 0.8 percent year on year and total sales rising by 1.8 percent to $234 million.
J.C. Penney reported a contraction in sales with same-store revenue falling 2.6 percent and overall sales dropping by 6.6 percent to $1.2 billion. Same-store sales at Macy's rose 2.2 percent and total October sales rose 2 percent to $1.8 billion. Kohl's reported healthy increases as same-store sales rose by 3.9 percent and total sales improved by 5.6 percent year on year to $1.3 billion. Target stores noted a drop in jewelry sales while same-store sales climbed 3.3 percent and overall revenue increased 4.3 percent to $4.8 billion.
The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) observed that chain-store sales rose 3.7 percent year on year in October, which was lower than expected. Michael P. Niemira, the vice president of research and chief economist for ICSC, noted that weather curbed demand for cold-weather apparel early in the month and that a snowstorm in the Northeastern U.S. at the close of October negatively impacted store foot traffic.
MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail and services sales, observed that October retail sales growth was consistent with that of the past several months, however, the strengths of the various sectors have changed.
While sales of apparel rose by the mid single-digits in October, the rate of growth slowed considerably from the previous month. ''Sales began to pick up momentum in October 2010, which is creating a more difficult comparison environment in October 2011,'' said Michael McNamara, the vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. Sales of electronics and appliances were stronger in October, representing the first positive results for the electronics category since March.
SpendingPulse measures retail sales across all forms of payment. The SpendingPulse Price Index during October didn't indicating much in the way of discounting. The increase in the costs of raw materials could account for the fact that prices held, according to the group.