US retail sales have risen for the first time since the major financial slump started in September 2008.
This year, September’s sales were up 1.1% on the same month last year, according to the Retail Metrics comparable sales index. The rise was attributed to stronger autumn fashions, more aggressive promotional activity and a particularly weak comparative performance when the markets collapsed last September.
Fashion retailers that beat expectations included Limited Brands, owner of lingerie chain Victoria’s Secret, which saw a 1% rise in sales despite analysts predicting a 2.4% drop. Teen clothing chain Aeropostale saw a 12.7% sales rise.
However, Retail Metrics president Ken Perkins said: “We would not interpret this month’s results as a sign the consumer is back.”
The US luxury market is still in decline with department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks reporting double digit declines.
Perkins added: “It’s no secret that areas of spending that are highly discretionary continue to suffer because consumers remain under a lot of pressure. It means that high-end stores like Saks, down 11.5% in September, continue to post weaker results.”
Figures for the coming months are expected to appear positive in comparison to the steep decline of the comparable months in 2008.