By  on November 30, 2006

NEW YORK - Affluent and fashion-conscious consumers continued to spend in the opening days of the holiday season, boosting luxury retailers and stores with the right fashion mix - while other sectors suffered the unseasonable weather, according to same store sales numbers released today.

Wal-Mart’s comps for November dropped 0.5, the company’s first same store sales decline in many years. Despite the weak month at Wal-Mart November wasn’t bleak for the entire mass merchant sector, conversely Target reported a same store sales gain of 5.9 percent. Costco, Stein Mart, and TJX Cos. turned in sales gains of 4, 3.8, and 3 percent respectively.

Luxury department stores continued to report strong comp sales with Federated increasing 5.8 percent over last year. Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom were up 7.2 and 5.8 percent respectively. Neiman Marcus’ sales increased 2.9 percent. Middle of the road department stores Kohl’s and J.C. Penney also did well, turning in 3.7 and 1.4 percent same store sales gains respectively.

The specialty sector was, as usual, a mixed bag. American Eagle and Limited’s Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret banners turned in the strongest performances for November, with 14, 16, and 14 percent gains respectively. Zumiez and Guess also did well in the early holiday season, both posting 12.1 percent same store sales gains. Banana Republic, Gap, Ann Taylor, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Old Navy were among the stores reporting declines in same store sales.

For complete coverage see tomorrow's issue of WWD.

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