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Most retailers reported their September same-store sales Thursday. It was a weak month for the sector, with warmer-than-usual weather taking its toll on winter merchandise sales. Collective same-store sales for the retailers in the chart below were down 1.4% from a year ago, while net sales gained a paltry 1.8% over the month. Retailers missed analyst same-store sales forecasts by an average of 1.5%. Weak housing prices have lead to a drop in consumer confidence, which is now being felt at the cash register. On Wednesday, a Piper Jaffray & Co. survey showed that while teenagers' spending is unchanged from a year ago, parents are limiting purchases both for their children and themselves (full story).

Much-watched Wal-Mart missed estimates by 0.5%, but boosted its Q3 outlook, while Costco, who posted Q3 earnings on Wednesday (full story), said its same-store sales gained 6.0%, stronger than the 4.7% analysts were looking for. JC Penney reported a much-worse-than-expected 4.6% drop in comps, and department stores Macy's, Nordstrom, and Saks all missed expectations. Discount retailer Target posted a 1.2% gain vs. estimates of 2.3%, far behind its initial estimates of 4-6%.

In the following table, arrows indicate whether a retailer beat (up), missed (down) or was in line with analyst expectations. Analyst estimates, where available, are based on Reuters and Thomson surveys.

Sources: Reuters, Dow Jones, MarketWatch, Press releases
Commentary: August Same-Store Sales RoundupJuly Same-Store Sales RoundupJune Same-Store Sales RoundupMay Same-Store Sales Roundup
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Source: September Same-Store Sales: Comprehensive Roundup