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Retailers report weak sales gains for November

  • FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, file photo, a teenage boy waits for his family to finish shopping at a J.C. Penney store in Las Vegas. Black Friday. Major retailers such a on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, reported weak sales in November as a strong start the holiday shopping season over the Thanksgiving weekend wasn't enough to fully offset a slow start to the month caused by Superstorm Sandy (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

NEW YORK — Black Friday was no match for Sandy.

Major retailers such as Kohl's, Target and Macy's on Thursday reported weak sales in November as a strong start to the holiday shopping season on the day after Thanksgiving wasn't enough to fully offset a slow start to the month caused by Superstorm Sandy.

The storm stunted enthusiasm among shoppers early in the month just as stores were preparing for the busiest shopping period of the year, a roughly two-month stretch in November through December when they can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

"It really took away the punchbowl for retailers and put them behind the eight ball heading into the crucial weekend," said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics, a research firm

Eighteen retailers reported that November sales at stores open at least a year — an indicator of a retailer's health — through last Saturday were up 1.7 percent compared with the year-ago period, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. That's well below the group's anticipated forecast for a 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent gain.


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