NEW YORK CITY-Retailers’ same-store sales last month, up 4.1%, were the highest the industry has posted since May, when sales increased by 5.7% according to an International Council of Shopping Centers report. The luxury and teen markets, as well as replacement shopping after the hurricane, helped push the increase, according to the report, which surveyed 75 chain stores.

“Though we saw some sales softness throughout the month, retail sales performed surprisingly well and exceeded our expectations” says Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research, in a statement. “Though October’s results should not be taken as a bellwether of how holiday sales will fare, they are at least a reassuring sign that sales will remain strong as we move closer to the traditional start of the holiday season.”

Apparel was the strongest sector in the industry, with a 6.9% year-over-year gain. For the fourth consecutive month, American Eagle Outfitters posted a jump over 20%, hitting 29.2% in October. Another big-gainer was the Limited, reporting a 14% spurt and bouncing back from two months in a row of year-over-year monthly losses.

Wholesale clubs shot up 6.6%. Costco was the leader of that sector, with an 8% rise, followed by Sam’s Club, up by 5%.

Discount chains rose 3.3%, with TJX Cos. posting the highest gain, at 7%. Target closely followed with a 6% jump. ShopKo, on the other hand, posted a 3.1% loss.

Department stores had their best showing since March, with a 2.8% jump. Neiman Marcus, at 13.6%, and Nordstrom, at 11.5%, had the highest gains. Dillards posted its sixth consecutive monthly decrease, with a 5% drop.

ICSC predicts a 3% to 4% gain in November, which it says will be in line with the entire holiday season.

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