Retailers Post “Better-Than-Expected” Gains in September

Target had a 5.3 percent gain in same-store sales.

Target had a 5.3 percent gain in same-store sales.

NEW YORK–Although consumers continue their fearful view of the present and future of the economy, the nation’s major retail chains still managed to boost their same-store sales last month.

The discount chains fared somewhat better than the department stores. Costco posted a 6 percent increase in same-store sales (10 percent when factoring in sales of gasoline) while Target surprised itself with a strong gain of 5.3 percent. Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and CEO, said the increase was “somewhat ahead of our expectations.” The TJX retail operations combined for a 4 percent increase.

In the department-store channel, Macy’s headed the pack with a 4.9 percent comp-store pickup. Kohl’s reported an increase of 4.1 percent, which Kevin Mansell, chairman, president and CEO, described as “significant” and which owed to the twin launches of the Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony lines in apparel and home.

Dillard’s posted an increase of 3 percent. J.C. Penney logged the only negative report of the chains tracked by HFN, with a drop of 0.6 percent.

The retailers’ September performance was better than expectations, according to an analysis prepared by Goldman Sachs. In the case of Target and TJX, the company said, home proved to be one of the drivers in their positive numbers for the month.