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Superstorm Sandy caused enough damage to derail retailers’ holiday-season strategies. As of now, the November sales results have somewhat muted holiday season performance. The hurricane that hit the East Coast on October 29 had upset the business operations for a couple of weeks and led to major brick and mortar retailers suffering soft sales.

According to Thomson Reuters, comparable-store sales for 16 retailers edged up 1.6% in November, significantly lower than the projected increase of 3.3%. The International Council of Shopping Centers reveals that comparable-store sales of 18 companies rose 1.7% for the same period, missing the growth forecast of 4.5% to 5.5%.

Data compiled by Swampscott, Massachusetts-based Retail Metrics suggested that comparable-store sales of more than 20 companies climbed 1.6% instead of 3.5% growth forecast.

Retailers can be expected to be aggressive with their pricing and promotional activities to make the most of the remaining holiday season and offset the loss incurred due to Sandy. Retailers need to be ambitious as the storm wreaked havoc when the economy is already reeling under crisis and faces its next big challenge in the form of the fiscal cliff.

Sandy dampened the sales performance of Target Corporation (TGT - Analyst Report), Macy’s Inc. (M - Analyst Report), Kohl’s Corporation (KSS - Analyst Report), Nordstrom Inc. (JWN - Analyst Report) and The Gap Inc. (GPS - Analyst Report), all of which missed forecasts. Below is the list of comparable-store sales data for some companies.

Companies

November Comparable-Store Sales

Comparable-Store Sales Estimates

Buckle Inc. (BKE - Snapshot Report)

-0.1%

-0.1%

Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST - Analyst Report)

6.0%

5.8%

Gap Inc. (GPS - Analyst Report)

3.0%

3.8%

Kohl's Corporation (KSS - Analyst Report)

-5.6%

2.1%

Limited Brands

5.0%

3.4%

Macy's Inc. (M - Analyst Report)

-0.7%

2.5%

Nordstrom Inc. (JWN - Analyst Report)

1.1%

4.5%

Ross Stores Inc. (ROST - Analyst Report)

2.0%

2.8%

Target Corporation (TGT - Analyst Report)

-1.0%

2.1%

The TJX Companies Inc. (TJX - Analyst Report)

3.0%

3.2%

Source: Retail Metrics

   
 

The dismal November sales performance also somewhat dented the enthusiasm witnessed during the Thanksgiving weekend, when sales surged 12.8% to $59.1 billion in that period from $52.4 billion in the year-ago period, according to National Retail Federation. Notably, sales did rise, but the rate of growth decelerated from 16.4% growth rate achieved in the prior-year period.

Moreover, the data compiled by National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, suggested a 4.1% rise in holiday sales to $586.1 billion, as against 5.6% growth registered last year. However, it is above the 10-year average sales increment of 3.5%.

The question now is: “Will December sales be enough to alleviate the disappointing November sales performance?”

Sensing the pulse, we may witness more competitive pricing and new product launches to woo shoppers and increase consumer confidence as much possible before Christmas.

Merry Christmas...

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