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Apparently higher gas prices and the expiration of the payroll tax holiday didn't stop consumers from shopping till they dropped in January. A composite of 18 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters posted a solid +5.8% increase in same-store sales for January, well above expectations of +3.5%.

Here are some of the standouts for January:

Kohl's Corp. (KSS - Analyst Report): +13.3%
Macy's Inc. (M - Analyst Report): +11.7%
Nordstrom Inc (JWN - Analyst Report): +11.4%
Stage Stores Inc. (SSI - Snapshot Report): +10.5%
Limited Brands Inc. : +9%
Gap Inc (GPS - Analyst Report): +8%

I think that at least some of this can be attributed to the wealth effect from higher stock and home prices. Especially the home prices part considering the painful 6 year slump in home values.

What do you think is behind this recent consumer strength? Chime in below.

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