November begins most retailers' fourth quarter, setting themselves up for what they hope will be a bountiful holiday shopping season. Today, a slew of retailers from discounters to specialty shops to department stores announced their November same-store sales results. Continued strength from some of the largest firms, coupled with more uneven results from others, left any particular trend hard to uncover.
Among the specialty retailers, results were mixed, as usual. Gap
Preppy competitors American Eagle Outfitters
Looking ahead to the rest of December, shareholders in these companies can try to gauge customer response by checking out their companies' stores at the local mall. Are they packed, or are their competitors doing brisker business? For retailers, which generally make the bulk of their profits in the third and fourth quarters, success here is critical. To get the real numbers on how December shakes out, check back on the first Thursday in January for December's same-store sales reports.
LouAnn Lofton owns shares of Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch. Costco is one of Tom Gardner's Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations.