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Sandy Slows November Retail Sales

New York – Despite record Thanksgiving week business, Hurricane Sandy managed to dampen November retail sales.

Target reported virtually flat net sales of $6.2 billion, and a 1 percent decline in comparable-store sales. Sales were softest within portions of the Northeast, the discounter said, and comp sales within the hardlines category, which includes CE, declined by the mid-single digits.

In a statement, Target president/chairman/CEO Gregg Steinhafel acknowledged that November sales were below expectations, particularly during the first two weeks of the month, although sales gained momentum in the back-half of November and profitability “remained on plan, reflecting our efforts to balance thoughtful price investments in an intensely competitive environment with our continued focus on driving sales.”

  Within the wholesale club channel, Costco said net sales rose 9 percent in November to nearly $8.2 billion, while U.S. comp sales climbed 6 percent. CE was among the better performing categories within hardlines, whose comps rose by the mid-single digits. The warehouse club said total comps were negatively impacted 0.5 percent by Sandy, which forced the closure of several stores due to power outages, although none of the locations sustained significant damage or flooding.

Elsewhere, Alco, the broad-line 217-store chain, said November sales rose 2.7 percent to $42.2 million while comps declined 1.7 percent. President/CEO Rich Wilson cited CE among the company’s strongest comp-sale performers.