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Department Stores Led U.S. Retail Sales Gains

Same-store retail sales for September were up 2.8 percent compared to a gain of 0.9 percent for September 2009, according to Kantar Retail. Last month's sales were slightly below August's increase of 3.4 percent.

Among the 31 retailers reporting monthly sales, department stores posted better than average results over last year with apparel and accessory stores following close to the average gain. Meanwhile, food, drug and mass retailers lagged slightly.

Zumiez reported the largest gain among all the retailers posting a 17 percent increase, followed by Abercrombie & Fitch at a 13 percent increase and Limited Brands at a 12 percent increase. All department stores, reporting to Kantar Retail, posted same-store sales increases, including JCPenney at 5.1 percent, Macy's at 4.8 percent  and Kohl's at 3.0 percent. In addition, discount retailer Target reported a 1.3 percent increase.

Of the few declines, Hot Topic and Duckwall-Alco posted slides at -2.6 percent and -2.3 percent, respectively.

"The results suggest that outside of healthy back-to-school spending, shoppers otherwise continue to moderate their spending from a surge in the spring," says Frank Badillo, senior economist at Kantar Retail. "This moderation should continue into the holidays."

And, in anticipation of the holiday shopping season, Kantar Retail has predicted a 2.5 percent growth for the fourth quarter, topping the 0.9 percent increase last year.

For a list of results:

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