Victoria’s Secret, Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) and other retailers posted a surprise gain in sales last month as improving U.S. employment encouraged some consumers to shop.
Same-store sales at Victoria’s Secret, owned by Limited Brands Inc., rose 19 percent, more than 10 times the rate predicted by estimates compiled by Retail Metrics Inc. Industrywide, retailers posted an increase of 2.2 percent, compared with the average projection for a 0.5 percent drop.
Consumers, whose purchases account for about 70 percent of the U.S. economy, withstood a 7.2 percent surge in gasoline prices as they bought up clothes and luxury goods. Some have more to spend after the jobless rate fell to a two-year low last month, helped by employment in business services and health care.