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October Comps Continue September Slowdown

With same-store sales continuing at a sluggish pace in the third month of the third fiscal quarter, some retailers were faced with the need to readjust earnings projections, the Johnson Redbook reported.

"October is the final month of the third quarter for most retailers. Falling sales forced retailers to cut back on their earnings projections. Many are desperate to accelerate their holiday promotions early in order to meet their fiscal year end inventory plans," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "The month includes the buildup to Halloween, which falls on Friday this year. Retailers expect more people to shop and celebrate the event."

As for the week ended Saturday Oct. 11, Levis noted, "Conditions were described as broadly similar to those of recent weeks, which have been characterized by weak demand for seasonal apparel with sales supported by basic consumables such as food."

This merchandise contrast is reflected in the poor performance by softlines-heavy department stores.

October comps are tracking 1.2% below September, compared to a targeted 1.0% drop. The four-week October retail month will end on Nov. 1.

Johnson Redbook Index
First week of October, year-over-year % change

Week ended 10/11 10/18 10/25 11/1 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -6.5 -6.5 -6.2
Discounters 4.9 4.9 5.0
Redbook Average 0.5 0.5 0.7


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