NEW YORK — Gap Inc.’s first positive same-store sales results in 2 1/2 years were the most dramatic of a series of October surprises reported by retailers Thursday.

A majority of the nation’s retailers reported same-store sales results that exceeded sluggish year-ago results, as well as already-lowered expectations. October’s pickup came despite murmurs of a war and waning consumer confidence, factors that were expected to cause a drag on the month just as they did in September.

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