Retail sales in the United States for October declined for the first time in four months. Even though superstorm Sandy influenced shopping, the decline was a surprise to analysts. However, one retailer is outperforming to the upside Tuesday, as earnings came in better than expected.
The Commerce Department reported a 0.3 percent drop in retail sales last month, compared to a revised 1.3 percent increase in September. The median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a decline of 0.2 percent. October represented the first decline in retail sales since June, and the worst miss of expectations since May 2010. Eight out of 13 categories in the report showed a decline, with auto dealers and building material stores leading the way.
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Information was collected in the Sandy affected area, but the Commerce Department was unable to quantify its impact. “Even though we cannot isolate the effect, we did receive indications from the companies that the hurricane had both positive and negative effects on the retail sales data,” the agency explained in a statement.
Although the slowdown in October weighed on many retailers, some names in the industry reported strong numbers. Same-store sales at Macy’s (NYSE:M), the second-biggest domestic department-store chain, increased 4.1 percent, beating estimates. Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS) same-store sales gained 3.3 percent, easily beating expectations for a 0.8 percent increase.