October's mixed retail bag showed Target at the low end with a 1.7% same-store sales increase and projections for another low single-digit comp in November. On the bright side, Macy's, the nation's leading department store chain, reported a surprisingly strong 2.5% comp gain, while rivals such as Dillard's, JCPenney and Kohl's posted declines of 1%, 1.9% and 2.5% respectively.
Discounters Ross Stores and TJX Companies reported results that exceeded their expectations. Ross gained 4% and TJX results, although flat, were at the high end of the company's guidance that was tempered by a double-digit gain the prior year. Costco advanced 3% at its U.S. clubs.
Upscale retailer Saks reported an 8.1% increase, although that figure is against several years of easy comparisons, while Nordstrom posted a 3.4% increase with such categories as shoes, jewelry and women's dresses,
While an estimated 32% of shoppers plan to make a consumer electronics purchase this season, reports the Consumer Electronics Association, they're also expected to be exceedingly price-wary. The average American will shell out $232 on electronics gifts this year, according to CEA's 17th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study--a gain of 5% from last year, and the highest dollar amount in the history of the study.