After struggling over the last couple of months, strength in retail appears to be making a comeback just ahead of the big holiday shopping season. A plethora of retailers recently reported sales figures for October that indicate malls and shopping centers are once again the place to be.
The International Council of Shopping Centers reported a 4% gain based on results of 71 stores, which is the best performance since May. While there were some laggards in each segment, including apparel specialty stores, high-end retailers, and discount centers, there were more than enough positive surprises to generate impressive sales overall. The weather even helped things out for a change as cooler temperatures brought in more buyers of fall fashions.
The specialty retailers provided a broad spectrum of results in October. On one end sat American Eagle Outfitters
On the opposite side of the spectrum among the specialty retailers was -- surprise, surprise -- Wet Seal
The high-end retailers posted impressive results overall for October. Leading the way was Neiman Marcus
And finally, though they weren't quite as impressive as the upscale stores, the discount shopping centers also performed fairly well. Wal-Mart
Overall, the retail segment looks to be gaining strength. As we head into the frantic holiday shopping season, this should be an exciting area to keep an eye on. If you shop carefully, you should be able to find some great deals in the sector.
Fool contributor Mike Cianciolo welcomes feedback. He doesn't own stock in any companies mentioned in this article.