Comparable Store Sales


January Same-Store Sales Step Higher, Kantar Retail Reports

COLUMBUS, February 2, 2012— Retail same-store sales stepped up to a 4.9% gain in January largely on the back of improved results from a few retailers such as Costco and Target, according to Kantar Retail.

The sales-weighted composite for the 21 retailers reporting—most of them apparel retailers—was better than the 3.6% same-store sales gain last month and the 4.2% gain in January of 2011. Note that the calculations exclude fuel and international sales for Costco.  J.C. Penney has stopped reporting and Walgreen did not report in time to be included.

The results were led by the stronger-than-average gains at Costco, among Food, Drug and Mass retailers.  Apparel and Accessory Stores were slightly below average.  Department Stores lagged the most.  (For a list of the retailers reporting and their results, please follow this link:

January’s gains occurred despite warm weather curbing winter apparel sales, relatively tougher year-ago comparison periods, and slowing improvement in shoppers’ spending intentions.

“Whether January’s growth can be sustained may depend on whether shoppers’ spending intentions show more signs of stalling out in the months ahead.  That underlying trend appears to be overwhelmed at the moment by the mixed retail and economic reports,” said Frank Badillo, Senior Economist. 

The support that same-store sales growth received from shoppers’ spending intentions—as tracked by Kantar Retail’s ShopperScape® survey (Figure 1)—was more modest in January than the prior three months.   

  • The percentage of shoppers planning to spend less in the coming month edged lower in January (as measured by a three-month moving average).  The slight improvement was a break from prior months, when the measure improved by nearly a percentage point each month.
  • Unlike the prior three months, there was no improvement in the percentage of shoppers planning to spend more in the coming month.  The percentage took a slight step backward in January, although it was statistically about the same as December.
  • The biggest gain in spending intentions in January was among shoppers planning to spend about the same in the coming month.  That share topped 53%, which is still down from the high of 56% reached in February of last year.

Spending intentions may be getting some boost from an improving perception of household income, but other financial factors are having a mixed impact (Figure 2).

  • Significantly more households in January were feeling better off in terms of their income level compared with the prior month and a year ago.  Conversely, significantly fewer were feeling worse off in terms of their income level compared with the prior month.
  • Fewer households were feeling worse off compared with the prior month in terms of job security, mortgage/car payments, investments and home values.
  • The remaining financial health metrics are otherwise mixed or negative.  For example, households’ perceptions of their investments remain down from a year ago.



About ShopperScape® The ShopperScape® survey is conducted each month with a sample of 4,000 U.S. primary household shoppers. The survey is conducted online among a nationally representative sample of households. This month's survey was conducted last month. Results from the survey are available to Kantar Retail Shopper Insights subscribers. For more information on Kantar Retail Shopper Insights or the ShopperScape® survey, contact Katherine Clarke ( or visit the company online at


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