Sandy saps power out of Black Friday

New York (AP) - Black Friday was no match for Sandy.

Major retailers such as Kohl's, Target and Macy's on Thursday reported weak sales in November as a strong start the holiday shopping season over the Thanksgiving weekend wasn't enough to fully offset a slow start to the month caused by Superstorm Sandy. The storm stunted enthusiasm among shoppers early in the month just as stores were preparing for the busiest shopping period of the year, a roughly two-month stretch in November through December when they can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue during the last two months of the year.

Eighteen retailers reported that November sales at stores open at least a year, an indicator of a retailer's health, through last Saturday were up 1.7 percent compared with the year-ago period, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. That's well below the anticipated forecast for a 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent gain.

Thursday's reports show that stores were still reeling from the impact of Superstorm Sandy, which hit the Northeast on Oct. 29. Sandy disrupted business activity and households, with people losing power and stores including Macy's and Saks closing Northeast stores for several days.

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