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In Retail, Bigger Not Always Better: Tom Stemberg

Retailers saw a slowdown last month from August sales, but a few names performed better, former Staples CEO Tom Stemberg told CNBC on Thursday.

On “Fast Money,” he said that same-store sales were slow — around 2 percent — for companies such as Target and Macy’s.

“Certainly, that’s not robust and speaks to the kind of pressures middle-class Americans are facing,” he said. “On the other hand, if you look at the retail that tends to service the higher-end customers, people like Nordstrom and Costco, they did slightly better, more in the 4 to 5 percent kind of comparable-store range. Nobody did great.”

American consumers have “deleveraged their balance sheets” and are spending more cautiously, said Stemberg, who is general managing partner at Highland Consumer Fund.

Stemberg’s holdings also include such names as Lululemon, Guitar Center and Michael Kors.

Written by Bruno J. Navarro, CNBC.com Producer.

Trader disclosure: On Oct. 4, 2012, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s “Fast Money” were owned by the “Fast Money” traders: Mike Murphy is long AAPL; Mike Murphy is long WFC; Mike Murphy is short XLF; Mike Murphy is long TGT; Mike Murphy is long EBAY; Mike Murphy is long S; Mike Murphy is short GPS; Josh Brown is long MRK; Josh Brown is long XLV; Stephanie Link is long AAPL; Stephanie Link is long JPM; Stephanie Link is long WFC; Stephanie Link is long SBUX; Stephanie Link is long EBAY; Guy Adami is long C; Guy Adami is long GS; Guy Adami is long INTC; Guy Adami is long AGU; Guy Adami is long MSFT; Guy Adami is long NUE; Guy Adami is long BTU.

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