October's a transition month for retailers, bridging back-to-school and the holidays. It's a time to clear fall goods and slowly start rolling out winter offerings, while making sure inventory levels are positioned for holiday demand. Unless you're lucky enough to be Wal-Mart
The latest rash of same-store sales reports for October reflects this, with discounters racking up big gains, and others announcing more varied outcomes. Wal-Mart and Costco both notched solid same-store sales increases -- Wal-Mart's were up 4.5% and Costco's, 11%.
For specialty retailers, an unseasonably warm October kept some shoppers from shelling out for winter coats and sweaters. The tax-rebate spending that spurred earlier months' results also trickled out, leaving retailers dry.
Abercrombie & Fitch
So, where were the teenagers shopping? They all appeared to be snapping up the concert tees, Goth looks, and 1980s kitsch at Hot Topic
As usual, it was baby boomer retailer Chico's FAS
All eyes now turn ahead to what retailers hope will be a very lucrative holiday shopping season. Early guesses are that folks will be spending more this year than in recent years, which is cause for cautious optimism. We'll just have to wait and see.
LouAnn Lofton owns shares of Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Costco was Tom Gardner's May 2002 recommendation in Motley Fool Stock Advisor.