By  on December 1, 2011

MIDTIER MELANCHOLY: November was a bad month to be stuck in the middle of the retail pricing spectrum. Kohl’s Corp. not only posted the sharpest decline of the month, but its 6.2 percent comp pullback came against expectations of a 2 percent climb, making it the biggest “miss” of the month as well. While Kohl’s saw its performance improve as the month concluded and served notice that it had not yet begun to deploy its heaviest marketing assets, J.C. Penney Co. Inc., coming off its 2 percent comp decline, said it never recovered from the adverse effects of “its decision to respect Thanksgiving Day for families and open at 4 a.m. on [Black] Friday, as it had in prior years.…Sales remained soft in-store throughout the holiday weekend.”

SECTORAL EXTREMES: The troubles at Kohl’s and Penney’s pulled the performance of department stores below expectations and to the lowest level of the sectors tracked by Thomson Reuters, with the group registering a median increase of just 0.8 percent despite better-than-expected showings from Saks Inc., Nordstrom Inc., Macy’s Inc. and Stage Stores Inc. Other than discounters, the best showing came from apparel specialty stores, but only when Gap Inc.’s 5 percent drop-off was excluded. Without Gap, the group was up 3.6 percent; with Gap, up 1.3 percent.

RELATED STORY: Strong Finish for November Retail >>

After the November numbers arrived, Thomson Reuters said it’s projecting that same-store sales in the fourth quarter, which kicked off for retailers last month, will grow an average of 2.4 percent, better than the just-concluded quarter’s 2.1 gain and on top of a 1.2 percent jump in the fourth quarter of last year.

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