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Memorial Day bumps retail sales

NEW YORK — Helped by Memorial Day sales events, same-store retail sales rose by 0.9 percent over year-ago levels during the fourth and final week of May, following an even bigger jump of 1.5 percent the week before.

Given the relative strength of the last two weeks, sales for all of May rose by 0.8 percent over last year, and ended up slightly ahead of target, the Redbook Retail Sales Average reported. Sales for all of May declined by 2.7 percent from April, also in line with the target, said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

Going forward, the analyst said, "Seasonal demand is expected to continue to drive business through June, but will likely moderate in July, the transitional month ahead of fall restocking and the back-to-school period."

Scoping out business by category, Levis said, "Seasonal merchandise was reported to be selling well where temperatures have been warm. Certain retailers reported strength in merchandise related to school graduation such as women's wear, men's wear, footwear and jewelry accessories."

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