Hurricane Sandy tempered November sales for retailers, but resultant damage, electric outages and gas shortages, could not overcome a subsequent burst of buying that included holiday purchasing at the end of the month.
Retailers lost days of business as their stores in the Northeast--the most populous part of the country-- were closed and saw little business in the days after as residents tried to recover from the storm's slam. But early reports Thursday from retailers indicate that while some felt Sandy's wrath, they still had a good month in general.
"It was a strange month," said Barbara Kahn, director of the Jay Baker Retailing Center at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. "We had a difficult start to November, which dampened people's mood, but they appear to have more than compensated as the month progressed. This is demonstrated by the generally positive numbers we're seeing for the month."
Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST), which has a good amount of stores in the Northeast, but also has recovery supplies, posted a gain of 6% in U.S. sales minus gasoline. Analysts expected 4.8%. The retailer said its sales for the month were hurt by half a percent because of the storm.