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NEW YORK CITY-Retailer’s year-over-year same-store sales rose 3.5% in November, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ monthly survey. The increase was “moderate” and driven mainly by promotional sales, says Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research.

Apparel chains, rising 3.2% as a sector, doubled their year-to-date average monthly increase. As it has for much of the year, Abercrombie & Fitch was the best performer of its peers, soaring 23%. Ann Taylor, jumping 12.9%, and Chico’s FAS, up 11.8%, also turned in strong results. However American Eagle Outfitters, which has posted double-digit gains most months of the year, only crept up 1.7%, due to weaknesses in its women’s department, among other factors.

Department stores, inching up 0.6%, were well below their monthly average increase of 2.1%. While Neiman Marcus, gaining 4%, and J.C. Penney moving up 3.6%, posted solid results, Federated Department Stores, the sector’s largest chain, slid by 3.4%.

In the discount sector, Wal-Mart, which rose 3.8%, bested Target’s 2.6%, marking the first time it has outperformed its competitor since May last year. ShopKo Stores continued to struggle, slipping by 3.9%.

Wholesale clubs’ 6.1% increase was slightly down from its year-to-date average of 6.4%. Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Clubs, up 7%, beat Costco’s 6% increase. Meanwhile BJ’s Wholesale crawled up 1.8%, falling behind 4.2% monthly average.

In December, Niemira predicts much of the same, forecasting that retailers will post another 3.5% increase. He is now predicting that holiday results could come in at the high end of his 3% to 3.5% prediction.

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