Shoppers Take Advantage Of Black Friday Deals
Joshua Lott/Getty Images
By Phil Wahba

NEW YORK -- Several major U.S. retailers posted disappointing sales for November after cautious shoppers pinched their pennies at the start of a shorter holiday season.

Some of the companies that reported sales gains ramped up bargains to bring in shoppers who appeared hesitant to splurge.

Costco Wholesale (COST) said Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year rose 2 percent, below the 3.3 percent increase analysts were looking for, according to Thomson Reuters. The warehouse club chain said consumer electronics sales fell.

Same-store sales at L Brands (LTD), owner of the Victoria's Secret lingerie chain, also came in below expectations. Its drop of 5.5 percent was far deeper than the 1.1 percent decline analysts were projecting.

Wall Street analysts are expecting 11 top retailers to report a 2.7 percent increase in same-store sales for November, according to Thomson Reuters. Excluding drugstore operators, which get two-thirds of revenue from prescriptions, that gain is estimated at 2.3 percent.

Gap (GPS) will report its November sales after U.S. markets close.

Retailers have been contending with low consumer confidence and the need to prod shoppers with bargains this holiday season, which has six fewer days because of a late Thanksgiving.

The National Retail Federation on Sunday said U.S. shoppers had spent 2.9 percent less this year over the Thanksgiving weekend, the kickoff to the holiday season.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said last week that U.S. consumer confidence fell in November after a sharp drop in October as Americans worried about their future jobs and earnings prospects.

Earlier this week,
J.C. Penney (JCP) reported a 10.1 percent comparable sales increase, partially reversing a disastrous decline in 2012, but the department store chain had to resort to aggressive bargains. The "environment will remain as competitive" through the holiday season, Chief Executive Officer Myron Ullman said.

In a sign of how hard retailers are pushing for sales this holiday season, rival Kohl's (KSS) said Thursday that its stores would be open around the clock between Dec. 20 and Christmas Eve.

Walgreen (WAG) said a "meaningful" increase in promotions had brought in more shoppers, helping the drugstore chain post a 1.9 percent increase in comparable sales of general merchandise.

Dollar General (DG) on Thursday said its same-store sales last quarter rose 4.4 percent, reflecting how much customers are looking to save money.

Stein Mart (SMRT), an off-price chain that sells clothes and home goods at deep discounts, was one of the few retailers to report stronger-than-expected sales for November.

Fred's (FRED), a general merchandise chain, said comparable sales were unchanged, below expectations.

Rite Aid (RAD) said comparable sales of general merchandise at its drugstores rose only 0.4 percent.

Sales were also flat at Cato (CATO), a chain of low-priced clothing. "We continue to expect that the remainder of the holiday shopping season and fourth quarter will be difficult," said CEO John Cato.

Teen retailer The Buckle (BKE) reported a 0.6 percent decline in same-store sales.

On Wednesday, Aeropostale (ARO) forecast a much bigger-than-expected loss for the holiday quarter and said it expected the "heavily promotional environment in the teen retail sector to continue."

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I bought most of my \"big ticket\" items at Khols.Why? For example,I boughta QUEEN SIZE set of sheets, which normally sell for 139.99 for 39.99. Also had a 20% off coupon AND a 10 dollar Off coupon.So that brought the price down to 22.00 plus tax. Need to be a savvy shopper to get more bang for your buck. All in all, I have 13 family members to shop for and spent 250 dollars total. hat averages to around 20.00 per person and I got some really nice gifts without breaking my wallet.

December 09 2013 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The gimme generation has gotten all they are going to get. Can't afford any more.

December 09 2013 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let's be honest, the markup on most products is outrageous. And when you add the union demands to the bottom line, people simply are not willing and sometimes not able to pay the high prices for moderate to low quality product. Quality is down and prices are up. And there really is no legitimate reason for the prices to be up other than keeping up with the inceased cost of labor due to union demands. So, people aren't going to spend more and get less. And that, sports fans is the real trickle down.

December 09 2013 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's about time. Merchants have played 'Giftmas' to the bitter end. Maybe Christmas will return to families once again. It took a few decades but the slow learners AKA consumers are finally catching on to the scam, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

December 09 2013 at 6:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Cheryl Elaine Willia

Walgreens, Walnart and Rite Aid got my shopping dollars this year.

December 05 2013 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply