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Same-store sales feel hurricanes' fury

NEW YORK — Same-store retail sales continued to come to light during the second week of August, hampered in part by the impact of hurricanes Bonnie and Charley on sales in Florida and along the Southeastern coast, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Sales advanced 2.3 percent above year-ago levels, slightly behind the 2.4 percent increase recorded the previous week. For the two weeks month-to-date, the Redbook Index stood at 2.4 percent, modestly beneath a targeted sales gain of 2.5 percent.

Measured on a month-over-month basis, sales for the first two weeks of August were 0.6 percent beneath July levels, versus a targeted 0.4 percent decline.

Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis said hurricanes took their tool in Southeastern states "as some stores closed early or suffered damages." On the flip side, she noted, some department stores experienced an increased demand for electric generators, while discounters saw stepped up demand for other storm-related emergency items such as canned food, duct tape, headlights, water and basic consumables.

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