December Brings Strong Sales Numbers

New York City, Retailers turned in impressive sales numbers for December, but many analysts believe margins generally suffered during last-minute holiday shopping.

All eyes were on Wal-Mart, which reported a 3% comp-store gain after making significant moves to lower prices and adjust merchandise following a slow start to the holiday shopping season. Leading the comp-store gainers for the December sales period were American Eagle, up 32.8%; Children’s Place, up 21%; bebe stores, up 28%; Jos. A. Bank, up 16.2%, and Chico’s FAS, up 18.6%.

Comp-store decliners included Wet Seal, down 11%; Pier 1 Imports, down 8.8%; Christopher & Banks, down 7%; and Bombay Co., down 6%.

Department store chains fared well, led by Neiman Marcus, which posted a 10.8% comp-store increase for December. Nordstorm rose 9.3%; and Saks Inc. comps increased 6%.

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