The Checkout

The Economy that Stole Christmas

Ylan Mui

Every fall, retailers try to lower the bar for expectations of holiday performance. They warn of tough times and slow sales, and then cheer when -- surprise! -- things aren't all that bad on Dec. 26.

But this year is different. This year, retailers have legitimate reasons to worry, just like the rest of us. In a story this morning, I wrote about the real pressures that retailers are facing for the first time in nearly 20 years.

The industry reported additional sales numbers today that feed those worries. Abercrombie & Fitch said sales at stores open at least a year, a critical measure of a retailer's health known as same-store sales, were down 14 percent in September compared to the same month last year. TJX, which owns TJMaxx and Marshall's, dipped 1 percent. Gap plunged 11 percent.

Many retailers, including Wal-Mart and Target, reported their September figures yesterday because of the Yom Kippur holiday. All told, same-store sales rose a meager 1 percent in September compared to the same period last year -- the weakest growth for the month since 2001, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group.

Bah, humbug.

By Ylan Mui |  October 9, 2008; 3:55 PM ET Consumer News , Credit Issues , Economy Watch , Ylan Mui
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

There's still hope! I already started doing my holiday shopping online at Sortprice mostly. It's a pretty good site and I feel like I'm saving money by getting this out of the way in October.

Posted by: Greg Wilson | October 10, 2008 2:01 PM

Hey Greg, would you like jam with your spam

Posted by: Peakfun | October 10, 2008 2:32 PM

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