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U.S. retailers expected to report weak October sales gains


U.S. retailers might need an extra boost in the holiday shopping season, thanks in part to warm fall weather, of all things.

Retailers are poised to report their weakest monthly sales gains in six months as unseasonably warm weather and fewer shopping events hurt demand for fall merchandise in a slowly recovering U.S. economy, Reuters reported.

Analysts expect same-store sales to have risen 1.7 percent in October, compared with a 1.8 percent increase last year, according to Reuters data.

“Unfortunately, this month was abnormally warm. In this economy, where so many consumers are living paycheck to paycheck, it really has become very much a ‘buy now, wear now’ type mentality,” said Ken Perkins, president of research firm Retail Metrics.

“A lot of the ‘buy now, wear now’ sales just didn’t happen because it was too warm,” Perkins said, underscoring that many retailers had already stocked their shelves with fall merchandise, expecting a seasonal dip in temperatures.

Retail chains from Target Corp to J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. will report sales at stores open at least year — a closely watched industry gauge known as same-store sales — on Wednesday and Thursday.

Consumers, bombarded daily with mixed economic data, may have chosen to pause from shopping ahead of the holidays, after being enticed by big discounts in the back-to-school season, analysts said.

A report from the Commerce Department on Monday showed consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in September after advancing 0.5 percent in August. It was held back by an unexpected 0.1 percent decline in income, the first slide since July 2009.

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