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STELLAR AUGUST PERFORMANCE: A group of 18 retailers including Target Corp. and Macy's Inc., collectively posted a 6 percent sales gain in August, the best performance since March, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. The results mirror data from MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, which tracks spending across all forms of payment. Family clothing stores, which include teen merchants, posted a 7.7 percent gain for August, SpendingPulse reports.
BEHIND THE RESULTS: Brightly colored fashions including skinny jeans and tops attracted shoppers in. But the results also underscore the post-recession behavior: shoppers will buy essentials, especially getting their children ready for school.
LOOKING AHEAD: Many analysts expect a lull in shopping until late November, when the official winter holiday season gets under way.