Spending data show December sales strong

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In the teen arena, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is seeing a resurgence in sales, drawing shoppers back from lower-priced Aeropostale Inc., which was a winner early in the recession but has discounted its goods as much as 75 percent to keep shoppers interested. In children’s clothing, the lower-priced Children’s Place is losing ground to competitors Gymboree and Gap Kids, both of which have been discounting but offer higher quality, Mr. Morris said.

Thursday’s other winners are likely to include Macy’s Inc., whose tailoring of merchandise to local markets took hold this holiday season. Luxury merchants such as Saks Inc. also are expected to fare well, as are discounters including Target, which is expected to benefit from the 5 percent discount it is offering customers who pay with its branded credit cards.

Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics LLC, will dissect the individual retailers’ reports for any commentary on whether markdowns had any effect on profits.

Analysts also will want details on how post-Christmas shopping is shaping up and what role gift cards are playing. And, of course, there’s the blizzard.

“The blizzard is clearly a wild card in trying to assess December,” Mr. Perkins said.


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