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HTT retailers saw same store sales stalling in February

New York -- Holding on tight to their wallets after a January shopping binge when they cashed in their gift cards, consumers largely shunned the malls during February, handing retailers a post-holiday jolt and sending same-store sales for many into a tailspin. Of the 22 retailers whose same-store sales are tracked each month by Home Textiles Today, almost half, 10 of the 22, recorded declines during the month.

A winter storm in the Northeast and unseasonably warm weather elsewhere each came in for part of the blame. Home fashions was a standout for a handful of players: Dillard's, JCPenney and Stein Mart all reported strong sales of home goods.

The slowing retail sales moved in lock step with a sudden and unexpected decline in consumer confidence as Americans fretted about higher heating bills, higher gas prices, rising interest rates, a stalled out housing market and a weakening jobs outlook.

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