Rebate Checks give Sales a Nudge

July 10, 2008 1:06:14 PM PDT
Although some retailers saw improving sales in June, they're saying it was largely because consumers were using their rebate checks to buy necessities and discounted items. Challenges remain for the rest of the year because of the housing slump and sputtering economy. Discounters and wholesale club operators including Wal-Mart, BJ's Wholesale Club and Costco reported better-than-expected numbers.

Some rebate money was put to work at clothing stores, such as Children's Place. Sales remained sluggish at mall-based apparel stores, including Limited Brands, Gap and Wet Seal.

The International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group, says its sales tally came in at 4.3 percent, better than expected. It is looking for an increase of 2 to 3 percent for July.