Retail Winners and Losers from November

Retail sales in the U.S. were up 3.1% in November thanks in large part to a record customer turnout on Black Friday. Several companies beat analyst sales estimates for the month; others fell short. While most national chain stores had blowout sales on Black Friday, for some of them it wasn’t enough to overcome a slow start to the month. For others, the start to the holiday shopping season was the cherry on top of a strong earnings month.

According to Barclays Capital, the Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend generated about a quarter of most retailers’ sales for the month. Though Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) had yet to report their sales, here were November’s biggest winners and losers among publicly traded companies in the retail sector:


  • Macy’s (NYSE: M): Same-store sales rose 4.8% for the month, well ahead of analyst projections of 3.9%. Macy’s opened at midnight on Black Friday, a few hours earlier than in past years, which CEO Terry Lundgren said attracted more young shoppers to the high-end department store.
  • Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD): The retailer whose roster of six national chain stores includes Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works saw its sales spike 7% in November, outpacing the 4.4% rise analysts had projected.
  • Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS): Another high-end department store that beat expectations. Sales rose 9.3% for the month, ahead of the 6.1% that was expected.


  • Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS): Unlike Macy’s and Saks, this department store actually saw its sales decline in November. Sales fell 6.2%, triple the 2% decrease that was expected.
  • J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP): Black Friday business was modest compared to some of the store’s competitors, which the company attributed to not opening at midnight. That likely played a part in the department store’s 2% sales decline.
  • Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS): The clothing store’s sales fell 5% for the month, worse than analyst expectations of a 4.3% decline.
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