US Retail Figures Worst for Four Decades

10 November 2008

NEW YORK: Retail sales in the US fell by 1% in October, the worst result for that month since 1969, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. The drop-off would have reached around 5% had it not been for Wal-Mart, which posted a 2% increase in sales.

Mid-range chain JCPenney saw same-store sales for the month decline by 13% year-on-year, with Kohl's (–9%), Macy's (–6%) and Target (–5%) also posting significant declines on this measure.

Gap saw its same-store sales fall by 16%, while Limited Brands, owner of Victoria's Secret and American Eagle, registered a slide of 9%.

Luxury chains Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom also all posted double-digit falls of between 16% and 28%.

While there was apparently a slight lift in sales at the end of the month, analysts remain gloomy about the prospects for the Christmas period.

Eric Beder, from investment bank Brean Murray Carret & Co, says: "While there are some positives, the consumer has remained extremely worried and confused, which has resulted in buyers focusing even more on what they must have or what adds extraordinary value to their lives."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff