Sales Growth Slows for US Retailers

10 November 2003

US retail sales growth slowed in October, with the big stores showing mixed results for the month.

According to the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (which tracks 72 retail chains), sales in stores open at least twelve months increased 3.2% year-on-year last month, a slowdown from September's 5.9%. Economists believe unseasonably warm weather was to blame.

"October certainly is a setback," declared BTM economist Michael Niemira. "But it does not derail the retail industry recovery."

Among individual retailers, Wal-Mart had a typically strong month, its same-store sales surging a better-than-expected 4.5%. Discount rival Target struggled to keep up, posting a 1.6% sales rise.

The department store sector was especially hard hit. Low-price operator Kohl's saw sales tumble 11.6%, JC Penney was down 2.3%, Federated - owner of Bloomingdale's and Macy's - fell 2%, and Sears Roebuck slid 2.7%.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff