Updated from 9:01 a.m. EDTSAN FRANCISCO - Retailers reported sluggish September sales Thursday, with clothing sellers posting particular weakness and several warning of earnings shortfalls. Many of the chains were quick to blame warmer weather for the lackluster results, saying high temperatures kept fall clothing items on the shelves. That in turn boosted inventory levels, leading to markdowns and weakened margins. Still, the weakness was generally expected, and Wall Street yawned at the data. The S&P retail index was up 0.7% Thursday, helped by a rosier profit outlook from the sector's one bright spot in the month: Wal-Mart ( WMT).
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