Generous discounts lured American to stores for holiday gifts in November, providing cheer and robust sales gains for retailers. That raises hopes, already buoyed by reports of crowded malls over the crucial Thanksgiving weekend, for a strong holiday shopping season.
As retailers report their monthly results Thursday, it showed that many different types of shoppers were in the mood to buy, from the affluent to teens. Stores reporting gains that topped Wall Street expectations included Costco Wholesale Corp., Target Corp., the owner of Victoria's Secret and teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch.
That underscores that many people were not only buying gifts for others but throwing in items for themselves, including high-priced push-up bras and shoes. That's a big difference from the last two Christmases when shoppers were focusing on practical items like coffee pots and socks for others and buying little for themselves.
The results are based on revenue at stores opened at least a year and are considered a key indicator of a retailer's health.
"Overall, discretionary spending looks to be making a comeback," said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics, a research firm. "Consumers are still looking for deal; that is deeply ingrained in the consumer." However, the upbeat commentary from retailers' reports Thursday "are encouraging signs."