Report: September same-store sales ekes out gain

Columbus, Ohio Retail same-store sales results improved in September, but shoppers also signaled that they would continue to restrain their shopping plans going forward, according to a Retail Forward report

Same-store sales, excluding Wal-Mart Stores, increased 0.8% in September among 32 retailers -- most of them apparel retailers. The results were better than the decline of 2.5% last month and 0.5% in September 2008 for the same composite measure calculated without Wal-Mart. Including Wal-Mart, same-store sales were up 1.3% in September 2008.

Despite the improvement, shoppers reported in September’s ShopperScape survey by Retail Forward that they will keep their spending plans restrained for the month ahead, as well as for Halloween and the December holidays.

According to the ShopperScape survey, shoppers that said they plan to spend less in the next month climbed back up to 47% in September, up from 38% in August, which was the smallest share of shoppers planning to cut back since February 2008.

Halloween spending should not see a major letup, according to the survey. About one-third of shoppers (34%) said they plan to spend about the same as last year on Halloween. That’s the same percentage as last year, although that remains down significantly from 2007 and 2006.

About 28% of shoppers said they plan to spend less than last year on Halloween.