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Christmas week comp sales down slightly  

Week ended 12/6 12/13 12/20 12/27 1/3 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -9.7  -10.1 -10.3 -9.7 -10.0 -8.6
Discounters 5.7 5.0  5.7 6.4 5.7 7.2
Redbook Index -0.8 -1.4 -1.0 -0.4 -0.9 0.6

New York – Strong comps sales at discount stores during fourth week of December weren’t enough to lift the period’s comp store sales into positive territory, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

Department store comps declined -9.7%, while discounters posted a 6.4% comp increase. The overall index showed a comp decline at retail of 0.4% for the week and a decline of 0.9% for the month to date. Johnson Redbook had estimated a comp increase of 0.6% in December.

“Our model as a whole remained below plan month-to-date for December,” said Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst. Although retailers extended store hours and accelerated promotions, “the last-minute Christmas rush was not enough to make up for the pre-Christmas slump,” she said.

Winter storms in the northwest, Midwest and northeast hindered in-store shopping but benefited on line sales, she said.

“With post-Christmas clearance sales starting on Friday, many people took Friday off. Gift-card holders, people returning gifts and bargain hunters rushed to stores to search for additional discounts,” said Levis.

Markdowns were expected to deepen in the final week of December and throughout January “since missed sales targets imply inventory overhangs which must be cleared before the spring season begins,” she said.

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