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Comps wither in the heat

New York - Excessive heat across many parts of the country was blamed for the anemic 1.3% increase in retail comps last week, according to the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index.
Comps in the discount store channel rose 2.3%, but comps in the department store segment declined 0.9%.
"Sales were below plan in the third week [of July]," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "Some merchants said it was too hot to shop and that periodic heat waves were keeping people away from stores; others reported sluggish business and unmotivated consumers suggesting little more than the usual mid-July doldrums."
She said basics such as food and household supplies drove sales as retailers cleared out summer goods and began stocking back-to-school product.
"Retailers are hoping that by mid-August the upcoming states tax holidays and back-to-school demand will motivate consumers and inject some life into shopping," said Levis.

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