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NEW YORK CITY-After a few months of lagging sales results, major chain stores posted a 3.5% same-store sales gain in November, the best year-over-year results that they have reported since March, when they rose 5.9%. However, an International Council of Shopping Centers report introducing those results says that the modest increase could be due to an extra calendar week of shopping after Thanksgiving compared to last year.

Department stores, which had negative same-store sales in both September and October, posted a 9.1% gain. Macy’s shot up 13.4%, while Kohl’s had a 10.2% gain. Dillards had the lowest increase, inching up 1%.

November was not as nice to discount chains, though, which had flat results as a group. TJX Cos. was a big gainer, with a 7% rise, but Family Dollar slid 3.4%. Meanwhile, Target only rose 1%, while Wal-Mart reported a 1.1% increase.

Apparel fared a little better with its 0.8% rise after previously posting two months of negative sales, but the sector was mixed. Chico’s FAS plunged 13.7%, and Cato Corp. dropped 6%. But Ann Taylor posted a 3.9% lift, and Ross Stores rose 3%.

Wholesale clubs, which have posted respectable sales as a group year to date, rising 5.4% on a monthly average, bested that with an 8.4% jump. Costco soared 9% and BJ’s Wholesale was up 7.7%.

For December, ICSC’s research team predicts a 1.5% gain, and a 2.5% increase for the bulk of the holiday season.

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