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December comp sales finish quietly  

Week ended 12/8 12/15 12/22 12/29  1/5  Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -0.9 1.4 -0.7 -0.4 -0.5 -0.8 -1.5
Discounters 3.4 3.3 2.5 3.0 2.2 2.9 3.3
Redbook Index 1.6 1.3 1.2 1.6 1.0 1.3 1.2



New York – There was nothing much special about same-store sales performance by retailers as December pulled to a close, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

Discounters finished the month with a comp gain of 2.9%, missing the 3.3% uptick planned, while department stores saw comps drop 0.8%, easily beating the goal of a 1.5% comp decline. Overall comps rose 1.3%, ending above the 1.2% goal for the five-week retail month, which ended Jan. 5.

December comps were 0.7% below November, slightly better than the targeted 0.8% drop.

The fifth week of December was noticeably sluggish, with comps up just 1.0%. “Meanwhile,” said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis, “heavy rain and flooding kept people at home on the West Coast. Some discounters reported that consumption patterns had become more normal, with a focus on basic commodities. Seasonal sales coupled with holiday bargain hunting tended to favor department stores because of their broader relative exposure to seasonal apparel and their greater reliance on promotional strategies.”

“Our preliminary target for the Johnson Redbook Index in January is 1.9% year-over-year, which would result in month-over-month growth of 0.9% vs. December,” said Levis, noting that the month will close out the fiscal year for most retailers.

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