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Retailers reporting weak sales gains for November

Nov. 29, 2012 @ 11:25 PM

NEW YORK -- Black Friday was no match for Superstorm Sandy.

Major retailers from Target to Macy's reported weak November sales as the strong start to the holiday shopping season -- including a good showing on the day after Thanksgiving -- wasn't enough to fully offset the damage caused by Sandy earlier in the month.

The storm stunted enthusiasm among shoppers during the first couple of weeks of November just as stores were preparing for the busiest shopping period of the year, a roughly two-month stretch at the end of the year when retailers can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

"It really took away the punchbowl for retailers and put them behind the eight ball heading into the crucial weekend," said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics, a research firm

Eighteen retailers on Thursday reported that November sales at stores open at least a year -- an indicator of a retailer's health -- through last Saturday were up 1.7 percent compared with the year-ago period, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. That's well below the group's anticipated forecast for a 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent gain.

Only a small group of stores representing about 13 percent of the $2.4 trillion U.S. retail industry report monthly revenue, and the list excludes big merchants such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer.

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