New York -- Sales at U.S. chain stores were up 2.1% in November, or 3% without the effects of gasoline sales, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. The group had predicted an increase of 3.5% to 4.5%.
“Sales were constrained by weak apparel sales this month,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist, ICSC. “November was a very competitive environment for retailers, and the softness in the November tally suggests some cautiousness by consumers.”
Niemira said he anticipates shoppers to return in force this month to complete the two-thirds of gift-buying they have left. The ICSC previously predicted a 3% to 4% year-over-year swell for December.