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Same-store sales fall short in July

New York — Clearly spooked by a tumbling stock market and withering retirement accounts, Americans dramatically scaled back spending during July, with same-store sales falling far short of the mark.

Clouding the July results even further, and making it all the more difficult to get a clear fix on what's going on at retail, stores were up against a tough comparison with last year, when consumers were cashing in their newly minted tax rebate checks.

Despite some firming during the last week of the month, same-store sales for all of July slipped by 0.4 percent from June levels, well short of a targeted month-over-month increase of 0.3 percent, the Redbook Retail Sales Average reported.

nd up against July 2001, same-store sales moved up by 1.7 percent, well short of a targeted 2.4 percent increase.

Department store sales for July were pretty much on plan, slipping by 3.0 percent from year-ago levels, compared with a forecast decline of 2.9 percent. But discounters came up short, with a 4.4 percent increase falling short of a planned gain of 5.6 percent.

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