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Comps strong in December's final week 

New York - The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was up 4.9% in the fifth and final week of December following a 4.3% gain the prior week.

 

Month-to-date, December was up 3.7% compared to December of last year, exceeding Redbook's target of a 3.6% gain. Month-over-month showed a 2.1% drop compared to November, better than the 2.3% drop Redbook had forecasted.

 

The department store segment's comps rose 4.8% during the week ended Dec. 31. Comps in the discount channel jumped 5.0%.

 

Sales on the days immediately following Christmas "were well above expectations, with customers taking advantage of deeper markdowns as well as exchanging and returning gifts and redeeming gift cards," noted Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst.

 

"There were reports of significant upside performance surprises at some department stores, which tend to be more promotional than the discount stores this time of year," she said.

 

January closes the fiscal year for most retailers. Redbook has set a preliminary target for a 2.9% year-over-year gain in same-store sales for the month and expects January comps to outperform December by 1.6%.

 

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