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Retailers wait for holiday demand to lift comps   

Week ended 12/6 12/13 12/20 12/27 1/3 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -9.7   -9.7 -8.6
Discounters 5.7   5.7 7.2
Redbook Index -0.8 -0.8 0.6


New York – As skittish consumers play the waiting game in a promotional wonderland, retailers recorded below-plan same-store sales performance in the first week of December, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

“Retailers described the week as a lull, which began the weekend after a hectic, for some, post-Thanksgiving surge. Retailers noted, however, that the pause was typical of the first week of December and would likely be followed by a steady buildup toward Christmas,” said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. “In addition, the sales results during the week were also negatively impacted by comparisons with last year’s Hanukkah.”

Upstairs chains fell 1.1 percentage points below the pace, which in their case is for a dismal target of a 8.6% comp drop for the five-week retail month.

Discounters in the week pushed comps up 5.7% – but this was a full 1.5 percentage points under their full-month goal.

“If December follows a typical pattern, as expected, sales are likely to slow down in the next week before accelerating into Hanukkah followed by both pre and post Christmas rushes as falling gasoline prices and pent-up demand may lift sales,” Levis suggested.

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