Will hurricane hurt holiday retail sales?
Americans spent briskly in October before Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast on the tail end of the month. But are they still willing to buy an iPhone for Christmas if they plunked down hundreds on a generator for Sandy? Twenty-one retailers, from club operator Costco to the department store Macy’s, reported that sales in October through last Saturday were up 5 percent, compared with the year-earlier period, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. That beat the trade group’s estimated growth of 3.5 to 4.5 percent. Results were not hurt by the storm because it hit the East Coast on Monday, two days after the period for which retailers were reporting sales.