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Holiday helps retailers beat target

NEW YORK — Getting an extra boost from promotions over the July Fourth holiday weekend, same-store retail sales came in modestly ahead of plan during the first week of July, the Johnson Redbook Index reported, rising 2.8 percent above year-before levels, besting a forecast of a 2.6 percent increase.

Getting the month off to a solid start, both department stores and mass merchants did better than expected. Same-store sales in department stores rose 2.3 percent, slightly ahead of a target of 2.2 percent growth. Sales at the nation's big discounters increased 3 percent, exceeding a targeted increase of 2.8 percent.

Measured against the month before, sales declined 0.5 percent from June levels, an improvement over an expected 0.7 percent decline.

"Sales over the July Fourth holiday weekend left our model somewhat ahead of plan after the first week," commented Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. "The July Fourth holiday and its associated sales promotions increased customer traffic as well as sales for the week."

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