By and and  on February 5, 2009

Sharp cuts in inventories took some of the sting out of stores’ dismal January performances, which followed the toughest retailing year in more than a generation.

Comparable-store sales results for the month posted Thursday showed that, as consumer spending continued at historically weak levels, stocks were being tightly managed, sometimes even at the expense of sales. Several stores noted that top-line performance was hurt by a lack of clearance merchandise after extensive promotions leading up to Christmas.

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