Retail in Asia

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US retail luxury sector up in January

Stores in the US received a pleasant surprise in January as shoppers bought a little more clothing at mall stores, delivering solid gains for many retailers and providing more hope that a spending recovery that started late last year is being sustained.

Many mall clothing stores including Limited Brands, Gap Inc. and Macy’s announced solid sales increases. Even Abercrombie & Fitch, which had seen its teen customers defect to less expensive alternatives, saw a surprising sales increase, its first since April 2008.

Luxury chains such as Nordstrom Inc. and Saks Inc. also had strong sales gains that well surpassed Wall Street expecations.

J.C. Penney Co., Stage Stores Inc. and teen retailer Wet Seal suffered declines. Target Corp. and Costco, excluding gasoline sales, had only modest gains.