Sales at U.S. retailers rose 3.6 percent last week from a year earlier, as some shoppers returned to stores to take advantage of post-Christmas discounts, dodging a snowstorm that assailed the East Coast.
Sales for the week ended Jan. 1 rose 0.4 percent from the previous week, according to a chain-store sales index released today by New York-based International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. That compared with a 1 percent gain a week earlier.
The holidays can generate up to 40 percent of annual revenue for some U.S. retailers. The Dec. 26 snowstorm covered parts of the U.S. Northeast in more than a foot of snow, disrupting what’s typically one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
“The beginning of the fiscal week’s sales were battered by a major Nor’easter along the East Coast,” Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and research director, said in an e-mailed statement today. “The warming trend by week’s end helped lift store traffic as well as helped to recover some lost post-Christmas sales earlier in the week.”
December sales probably rose 3.5 percent or more, the ICSC said. The industry group plans to release combined results for November and December on Jan. 6. Last week, the group forecast that holiday sales will rise at least 4 percent, the most in four years.
Retail stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rallied to a three-year high yesterday after analysts said that companies whose prospects are tied to its growth will gain.
Citigroup Inc. recommended shares of Target Corp., Macy’s Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and Family Dollar Stores Inc., while Janney Montgomery Scott LLC advised buying Staples Inc.
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