Rising spending tide lifted most apparel boats

Americans spent lots of money on apparel in September, and Target was among the beneficiaries, reporting that the category’s performance exceeded the total company same-store sales increase of 5.3%. Target didn’t elaborate on any key merchandising initiatives that may have influenced the results, such as the launch of the Missoni collection, but it was hardly alone in reporting strong apparel sales.

Other key retailers with a high degree of exposure to apparel reported strong results and included Nordstrom, which led the pack with a 10.7% increase, followed by Saks at 9.3% and Macy’s at 5.3%. At the low end, Ross Stores produced a 5% increase followed by Kohl’s at 4.1%, TJX at 4% and Dillard’s at 3%. The weakest performance was turned in by Gap, which reported a 4% decline at its North American stores, and JCPenney where comps declined 0.6%. Walmart doesn’t report monthly sales, but previously indicated its apparel business was well-positioned to gain sales and market share during the back-to-school season. Walmart is likely to elaborate on the performance of its apparel business and during an all day meeting with analysts on Wednesday.

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