Discounters Beat Modest Feb. Comp Goals

Discounters slackened in the fourth week of February but still beat their full month target of 2.2% with a 2.8% comp gain, enough to offset the woeful performance of department stores, the Johnson Redbook reported.

The upstairs chains posted a same-store sales drop of 9.3% in the final week, for a full month comp drop of 8.9%, just lower than their target of -8.8%.

As a whole, the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index retailers edged their -1.9% goal with a comp drop of 1.6% in February. The month-over-month gain was 0.8% above January, vs. a targeted 0.5% gain.

"Looking forward, March sales growth will be hurt by the later Easter this year. Easter is three weeks later this year than last year, pushing the bulk of holiday sales into April rather than March. March and April should be combined for fair comparison," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

"Our preliminary [March] target for the Redbook index is a year-over-year comparison of -1.8%, which could result in -0.6% over February," Levis noted.

Johnson Redbook Index
Fourth week of February, year-over-year % change

WEEK ENDED 2/7 2/14 2/21 2/28 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -9.0 -8.4 -8.7 -9.3 -8.9 -8.8
Discounters 2.7 2.9 2.9 2.6 2.8 2.2
Redbook Index -1.7 -1.4 -1.5 -1.9 -1.6 -1.9


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