Comps Sluggish in December's 2nd Week

NEW YORK - Same-store sales rose 2.9% in the second week of December following a 3.2% gain the prior week, according to The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index.
     Month-to-date, December was up 3.1% compared to December of last year, relative to a target of a 3.6% gain. Month-over-month showed a 2.8% drop compared to November, relative to a target of a 2.3% drop.
     Retailers said they had entered the expected "soft middle" of the holiday season, said Catlin Levis, as the slower sales and diminished customer traffic seen in the first week of December carried through most of the second week.
     "Online shopping remained at a strong pace and the increasing popularity of gift cards have made it easier for people to delay holiday shopping, shifting sales to the period after the holiday season," she added.
     The majority of gift cards are purchased during the week before Christmas - a trend that continues. But gift card sales aren't recorded as sales revenue until the cards are redemmed.
     "Holiday shopping should be helped by one more day before Christmas compared to last year," Levis said.

Johnson Redbook Index

Second week of December, year-over-year % change

WEEK ENDED

12/03

12/10

12/17

12/31

MONTH

TARGET

Department stores*

2.7

2.2

  

2.5

3.1

Discounters

3.5

3.3

  

3.4

3.9

Redbook Index

3.2

2.9

  

3.0

3.6

*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index

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