Nov 3, 2011
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U.S. chain store sales rise in October

Nov 3, 2011

U.S. retailers continued to show strength in October, judging by a first set of sales results that suggest shoppers overcame anxiety over the state of the economy.

Photo: Corbis

Limited Brands, the parent of Victoria's Secret, reported a 6 percent jump in same-store sales, while teen retailer Zumiez reported a 3.3 percent gain, above Wall Street's expectations.

Costco Wholesale Corp reported a 9 percent increase, helped by higher gasoline prices and shoppers' continued search for bargains.

Overall, 23 major U.S.-based retailers that report monthly results were expected to post an composite gain of 4.5 percent in sales at stores open at least a year, or same-store sales, according to Thomson Reuters data.

That would come off a strong back-to-school season and suggest that U.S. shoppers are growing more comfortable spending.

Consumer confidence was still low in October compared with historic levels, but did brighten a bit. And U.S. private employers added more jobs than expected last month, according to the ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday.

"What we're seeing right now is a surprisingly resilient consumer," said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.

But October is the third-smallest month for sales, with shoppers taking a breather between back-to-school and the holidays.

And while shoppers are hitting stores, they are still careful heading into the biggest spending season of the year.

"Now going into the holiday season, consumers are going to start to be more selective," said Kurt Salmon retail strategist Megan Donadio. "They want to make sure they are getting value."

Other retailers set to report October sales later on Thursday include Target Corp , Macy's Inc and TJX Cos Inc .

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