Here’s Why Retailers Are Smiling

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Consumer confidence is on the rise again. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index rose from 68.4 in September to 72.2 in October, its highest level this year. Chasing the good news, retailers across the board announced fairly strong October sales numbers.

Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS) jumped in the pre-market and is holding gains over 2.5 percent in early afternoon trading after announcing that October same-store sales were up 3.3 percent. Total sales for the month rose 4.6 percent compared to last year to a total of $1.39 billion. Total sales for the third quarter were up 2.6 percent and comparable store sales increase 1.1 percent compared to the quarter in 2011.

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Kohl’s also announced that beginning in fiscal year 2013 it will join a growing faction of its retail peers in no longer reporting monthly sales. Instead, sales numbers will be reported with its quarterly earnings releases.

Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) reported that net sales for the third quarter were $3.86 billion, an increase of 8 percent compared to last year. Comparable sales were up 4 percent for October and 6 percent for the quarter compared to 2011. The company is due to release its third-quarter earnings on November 15, and issued a guidance of $0.61 to $0.63 per share.

Costco (NASDAQ:COST) reported October net sales of $7.67 billion, an increase of 9 percent from last year. There was a 4 percent increase in comparable-store customer traffic for the month.

Target (NYSE:TGT) reported net retail sales for October increased 3 percent to $4.98 billion, while comparable-store sales were up 2.4 percent. Shares dropped in the pre-market as sales numbers hit the low-end of expectations, but have mostly rebounded in the early afternoon.

Macy’s (NYSE:M) is holding gains over 4.6 percent in the early afternoon after reporting that its same-store sales increased 4.1 percent for the month. Total sales for the month grew 3.6 percent to $1.9 billion.

Reports indicate that while hurricane Sandy closed stores and disrupted business, losses will be minimal.

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