By  on November 20, 2009

Most specialty stores reporting quarterly results Thursday managed to meet or beat the cautious expectations they helped to create.

With consumer spending and mall traffic still spotty and the fate of the holiday season unclear, retailers have been conservative in their guidance and remained fairly noncommittal about the fourth quarter. Clouding the picture was the inconsistent performance of comparable-store sales, which went into a tailspin in the middle of last year’s third quarter as the credit crisis worsened.

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