Retailers Hit Hard by Sandy and Weak Consumer

Leading U.S. retailers announced weaker-than-expected same-store sales for November, as superstorm Sandy weighed on customer traffic and sentiment.

Excluding drug stores, more than a dozen retailers on average reported a 1.6 percent increase in sales at stores open at least one year, far below the 3.5 percent gain seen last year in November. Analysts had expected an increase of 3.3 percent, according to Thomson Reuters. November same-store sales are often seen as an early indication on the holiday shopping season. Although the results were disappointing, analysts tried to remain positive.

“Sandy had a big impact on a very important part of the country,” said Nancy Liu, retail strategist at Kurt Salmon, according to WSJ. “The region drives so much of consumer spending and commerce. But the distraction of Sandy in November may mean there will be some momentum in December from pent up demand.”

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Macy’s (NYSE:M), the second biggest U.S. department store, reported a same-store sales decrease of 0.7 percent, missing estimates for a 1.5 percent gain. “Despite the largest-volume Thanksgiving weekend in our company’s history, we were not able to overcome the weak start to the month, which included the disruption of hurricane Sandy. Yet we remain on track to deliver a very strong sales performance in the fourth quarter, consistent with our guidance,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy’s.