Retail

Retail Sales on Track for Lower Growth

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Source: Thinkstock
After three consecutive years of 4%+ same-store sales growth in the month of February, the outlook for the month in 2013 calls for growth of 2.7%, primarily on a forecast of weaker sales at apparel and teen specialty retail stores. According to research firm Retail Metrics, projected weakness at both J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) and Sears Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) have led to projected decline in same-store sales of 0.1% at department stores.

The largest gains are forecast at discount stores such as Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG), Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST), PriceSmart Inc. (NASDAQ: PSMT) and Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO).

The research firm attributes the lower comparable store sales to delays in getting refunds to taxpayers, the impact of higher payroll taxes on income, higher gasoline prices in February, and cooler weather which delayed the start of sales of spring clothing.

Retail same-store sales figures are due to be released later this week.

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