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Mixed bag for retailers in August


New York City Lower-priced retailers posted better-than-expected sales results in August as consumers looked to save money in the key back-to-school season, leaving luxury chains and department stores struggling. Target Corp., TJX Cos., Kohl’s and Costco Wholesale Corp. were among the chains whose results beats analysts’ estimates.

"It's really still a discounter's market and an off-price seller's market," said Ken Perkins, president of research firm Retail Metrics, in a Reuters report.

Same-store sales fell an average of 2.9% at the 30 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters, better than the 3.8% decline analysts had forecast. Half of the retailers missed analysts' expectations, and 46% beat them.

“Holiday sales are definitely going to be soft, but it's not going to be the bombshell that was dropped on retailers last season," Perkins said.

Experts pointed out that the sales view is distorted by the shift of the U.S. Labor Day holiday -- which falls on the first Monday in September -- to Sept. 7 in 2009 from Sept. 1 in 2008. That means seven more pre-Labor Day selling days, including the entire holiday weekend, will be in the September sales reporting month this year. Last year, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend fell in August.

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