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German retail sales rise at fastest rate in seven years

BERLIN (Reuters) - German retail sales posted their strongest gain in seven years in January, reinforcing expectations that consumer spending will support growth in Europe's largest economy this year. Data from the Federal Statistics Office on Friday showed retail sales rising 2.5 percent in both real and nominal terms compared to December, when they stumbled 2.1 percent lower in real terms during the important Christmas shopping season.

J.C. Penney expects higher sales, gross profit this year

By Phil Wahba (Reuters) - After two years of massive losses, J.C. Penney Co Inc <JCP.N> appears to be turning a corner. It reported improved sales and profit margins for the holiday season quarter, and the department store chain expects to make further strides this year.

US new-home sales rebound in January

Sales of new US homes rebounded in January after December's fall, suggesting that severe weather has not totally dampened the US property market. Commerce Department figures released Wednesday showed sales of new homes across the country rose 9.6 percent last month to an annual rate of 468,000. January sales were up 2.2 percent from a year earlier. New home sales had fallen around 4 percent in December, with analysts blaming the impact of harsh weather that swept much of the country.

British retail sales slide amid floods: official data

British retail sales slid by 1.5 percent in January after spiking by 2.5 percent a month earlier, official data showed on Friday. They jumped by 4.3 percent in January compared with the same month in 2013, the Office for National Statistics said. Retail sales had spiked in December as shoppers spent heavily ahead of Christmas. "The Christmas period will have given a boost to December's numbers, while January had to cope with poor weather and the traditional post-Christmas time of domestic austerity," said Chris Beauchamp, an analyst at IG trading group.

U.S. retailers' sales chilled by weather, low consumer confidence

By Phil Wahba (Reuters) - January was a tough end to the most competitive holiday season for U.S. retailers since the 2007-2009 recession. Retail sales figures reported on Thursday showed shoppers continue to pinch pennies, seeking out bargains and paying fewer visits to stores in a month when consumers typically wrap up their holiday shopping and redeem gift cards. But economists voiced optimism that American shoppers would shake off their doldrums later this year, buoyed by stronger job and economic growth.

German retail sales disappoint in December

German retailers reported a shock drop in business in December, suggesting a disappointing Christmas period, official data showed on Friday, but the sector is projecting a pick-up this year. Retail sales, a closely watched measure of household confidence, dropped by 2.5 percent in December compared with November, the federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement. That meant that taking 2013 as a whole, retail sales edged up by a meagre 0.1 percent over the entire year, Destatis calculated.

U.S. holiday sales up 3.8 percent: National Retail Federation

By Phil Wahba NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. retail sales rose 3.8 percent during the 2013 holiday season, compared with 3.5 percent last year, the National Retail Federation said on Tuesday. The disappointing showing reflected on the extent of discounting retailers resorted to as consumers held back spending amid an uneven economic recovery. The data, based on U.S. government figures, was just shy of the 3.9 percent rise NRF forecast in October.

US stocks end mixed week mostly higher

Momentum has slowed on Wall Street after the surge at the end of 2013, but the stock market's tally at week's end was still respectable, even if not outstanding. While the market spent much of the week in the red, two of the three indices still finished in positive territory for the first full week of trade of 2014. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 32.94 (0.20 percent) to end at 16,437.05. The broad-based S&P 500 rose 11.00 (0.60 percent) to 1,842.37, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 42.75 (1.03 percent) at 4,174.66.

US retailers reporting weak holiday season results

Victoria's Secret parent L Brands and home decor chain Pier 1 Imports joined other retailers in slashing profit forecasts Thursday following disappointing holiday sales. The two cited heavy discounting, higher marketing costs and poor weather over the late-November to December gift-buying season in the United States, following similar poor reports from Bed, Bath & Beyond and Family Dollar.

Several retailers cut fourth-quarter profits after weak holiday sales

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Several major retailers slashed their fiscal fourth-quarter profit forecasts this week in the latest sign that Americans didn't spend briskly during the holiday season. American Eagle Outfitters and Bed Bath During the holidays, many Americans were contending with the effects of a shaky economic recovery. Snowstorms across the country also kept some shoppers home. And the season was six days shorter, which meant less time to shop.
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