Warm weather chills October gain
October 20, 2003-- Home Textiles Today,
Building up steam moving into the closing months of the year, same-store retail sales improved by 3.6 percent during the first week of October, but still fell slightly beneath plan as the weather warmed up further into the week, blunting sales of seasonal apparel, the Redbook Retail Sales Average reported.
"Sales were mixed in the first week of October and were on to modestly below plan at most stores," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. Though climbing by 3.6 percent over year-ago levels, sales came in modestly beneath a targeted gain of 3.8 percent. Measured on a month-over-month basis, sales were 1.2 percent above September levels, shy of the target of 1.5 percent growth.
Department stores, reversing a two-year-long trend of flat to declining sales, put up a 1.7 percent increase during the week, slightly off the target of 1.9 percent growth. Mass merchant sales jumped up by 4.8 percent, just missing a target of 5.1 percent.
"Retailers that started the month behind plan said sales began strong and then fell as the weather warmed," Levis reported. "Sales performance at the discounters was sustained largely by non-seasonal items, especially electronics and basic consumables."
Levis added, "The main merchandise themes in October include mid-fall seasonal apparel, Halloween, winter sports and early holiday shopping. Merchants said sales in these areas were starting to grow. Retailers expect falling temperatures eventually will trigger seasonal demand for apparel inventory, and some retailers claim the process has already begun."
October, Levis pointed out, "is the final month of the third quarter for most retailers and an important period for retailers to meet quarterly sales and earnings targets."
Tracking sales on a regional basis, "the Northeast and Midwest were said to be the most active," Levis noted.
Redbook Retail Sales Average: First week of October
|*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.
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