October Retail Sales Plummet Amid Financial Crisis
U.S. retail chains posted the worst monthly sales data in more than 30 years, as the financial crisis forced consumers to cut spending sharply in October.
The International Council of Shopping Centers called the retail sales environment "simply awful" and said the October results were the worst it had seen in 35 years.
The ICSC said it pared its forecast for what were already expected to be dismal holiday season sales. It now expect sales in November and December to rise 1 percent, down from its prior view for a gain of 1.7 percent.
The picture was particularly bleak for high-end retail stores. Saks and Nordstrom both had double digit declines in same store sales last month. In stores open more than a year, Saks' sales dropped more than 16 percent, while sales at Nordstrom were down 15.7 percent.
Kohl's, J.C. Penney and Macy's fared a little better, but they still saw sales slump in October. Kohl's same-store sales fell 9 percent in October, below expectations of a 6.4 percent decline. Department store operator Macy's, parent of Macy's and Bloomingdale's chains, reported a 6.3 percent drop.
J.C. Penney's October sales fell 13 percent, beating analyst expectations of a 13.2 percent slide.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. provided a bright spot in the report. Its sales increased 2.4 percent. The company now says it will introduce new price cuts every week until Christmas -- trying to win an even bigger market share.
Lest you think I've been a bad blogger lately, I've actually just been a bad shopper. I don't have much to report--not much, but a little. There's a boot, some accessories, and maybe an eBay find or two. Watch for some weekend posts.
(In addition to my uncharacteristic lack of retailing, I've also been awash in everything election. Material Girl is happy with the results--yesterday I dressed in blue to match Ohio.)
Now let's all do our duty and get out there and shop--I assure you there are sales and lot of 'em. The bad economy can be good for bargain hunters. (And if Sarah Palin can spend $150,000 on an election wardrobe, we all deserve an on-sale new outfit or two at the very least.)