Make us your home page

After 13 monthly losses, retail sales post tiny September gain

NEW YORK — Americans are finally spending a little more, but they're playing hard to get.

A tally of sales at top stores managed a gain in September for the first time in more than a year. It was a pleasant surprise for retailers, but analysts say shoppers still aren't coming in the door unless they see deep discounts.

The increase in the sales figure from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs on Thursday was small — just 0.1 percent — yet significant because many analysts expected sales to keep falling, as they had starting in August 2008.

A late Labor Day and delayed school openings helped because Americans bought some items in September that they otherwise might have bought in August.

And the comparisons with a year ago look good partly because September 2008 was when the financial meltdown struck and sales plummeted.

At stores, they're keeping an eye out for sale signs.

"The tone is better, and I am encouraged, but it is still a very difficult environment where retailers have to promote in order to get shoppers to buy," said New York retail consultant Walter Loeb.

In the previous five Septembers before last year, sales rose an average of 2.6 percent compared with the year before.

For the holidays, the National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend $437.6 billion, about even with the $433.7 billion they spent in 2005.

. Fast Facts

Retail report

Here's how some major chains fared in September compared with a year earlier, based on stores open at least a year.


& Fitch -18%

Aeropostale +19%

Buckle + 5.1%

Costco +1%

Dillard's -6%

Gap -1%

J.C. Penney -1.4%

Macy's -2.3%

Neiman Marcus -17.6%

Nordstrom -2.4%

Ross Stores +8%

Target -1.7%

TJX +7%

Source: International Council of Shopping Centers, Goldman Sachs

After 13 monthly losses, retail sales post tiny September gain 10/08/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 8, 2009 9:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  4. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  5. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]