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Federated Beats Weak Sales Week

NEW YORK — Consumers continued their frugal ways last week, although Federated Department Stores was able to report a slight, and rare, upside surprise in its weekly sales report.<br><br>Federated upped its same-store sales guidance for the...

NEW YORK — Consumers continued their frugal ways last week, although Federated Department Stores was able to report a slight, and rare, upside surprise in its weekly sales report.

Federated upped its same-store sales guidance for the current month to between flat and down 2 percent. Previously, the parent of Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and other department store nameplates was looking for a 4 to 5 percent dip. Its December comparable-store sales fell 2.6 percent, better than its 7.4 percent decline in November.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said its U.S. comps were on plan and continued to track toward a 2 to 4 percent rise for the full month. The flagship Wal-Mart division is headed for a better, 3 to 5 percent increase in January.

Driving the firm’s sales during the third week of the month were cold weather and the Super Bowl, which came a week earlier than it did last year. Best-selling product categories included men’s and boys’ apparel as well as outerwear. Increases in average ticket price and traffic contributed equally to the comp rise.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s department stores trended below plans for a flat to up slightly comp through the fourth and final week of its fiscal month. The retailer’s strongest product categories last week were men’s, children’s and fine jewelry.

Through the third week of the month, ShopKo Stores Inc. said its comps were trending below plans for a flat to slightly lower showing in January.