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Labor Day impacts Redbook avg.

New York — Same-store sales for the nation's key retailers advanced by 1.7 percent over year-ago levels during the first week of September, but stunted by a disappointing Labor Day weekend, sales fell beneath plan at department stores and discounters alike, the first time in a month that the widely watched Redbook Retail Sales Average couldn't meet or exceed its target.

And measured against a sales recovery that held on through all of last month, sales during the first week of September declined 0.7 percent from August levels, Redbook reported.

"Labor Day business was slow and culminated in a disappointing weekend with reduced traffic in stores," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "Both discount and department stores under-performed in the first week."

Back-to-School business "continued to be a primary sales driver, which included Labor Day as the season approached its peak selling period," Levis added. "Some retailers are nearing the end of their Back-to-School calendars, while others expect the Back-to-School impetus to last through the month. Elsewhere, consumer demand for basic consumables continued to be firm. Discount stores did well in categories such as school supplies, food, basic apparel, pharmacy items and health and beauty products. Sales of home-related goods also remained active. Regionally, business was strongest in the Northeast and Midwest."

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