Retailers today reported mixed sales results for November, marking continued difficulty during a holiday season that began on a bad note with weak October sales and consumer unease.
The performance was uneven for major retailers nationally and in Philadelphia, with a few logging increases while others broke even or reported marginal gains during the month that kicked off the holiday shopping season.
Macy's Inc. was among the few leaders, reporting a 13.4 percent jump in sales at stores open at least a year. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which lured shoppers with deep discounts and heavy promotions, said same-store sales rose 1.5 percent. Sales at stores open at least a year are a key industry gauge of performance because they eliminate the effect of store openings and closings.
Other retailers, including several headquartered in the Philadelphia area, reported more modest November results. But their sales for December probably will be weaker because this month has one fewer weekend than November.
Maternity retailer Mothers Work Inc. of Philadelphia said same-store sales were flat in November compared with the same month last year.
The company's results are in line with its recent projections that November sales would fall somewhere between a 1 percent decline to a 3 percent increase. Mothers Work had posted a 3.9 percent decline in October same-store sales because of a number of factors, including unseasonably warm weather.
The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., said comparable store sales increased 8.6 percent in November, thanks to dropping temperatures that fueled demand for cold-weather merchandise.
The York department store chain, said its positive numbers were also due to the extra weekend in November this year.
Rite Aid Corp., of Camp Hill, reported a same-store sales increase of 0.9 percent in November compared with the same period a year earlier.