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Stores report mixed comps

RedbookNew York - The second week of December proved good for some retailers, like e-commerce, but soft for some others, as comps were up 2.9% following a 2.6% gain in the prior week, said the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index.

Month-to-date, December was up 2.8% compared to December of last year, relative to a target of a 3.8% gain. Month-over-month showed a 1.4% drop, relative to a 0.4% drop.

December is a five-week month on the retail calendar, ending on January 4, 2014.

Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst, explained sales were mixed in the second week versus the Hanukkah week last year.

"Some retailers saw business pick up following a post-Thanksgiving slump, while others said they had entered the expected soft middle of the holiday season," she said. "Meanwhile, the Northeast snowstorm on Saturday may have postponed shopping to the following week."

Procrastinating shoppers have one more shopping weekend to complete their holiday shopping.

"Online shopping remained at a strong pace and gift cards have made it easier for people to delay holiday shopping," Levis added. "The majority of gift cards are purchased during the week before Christmas."

Gift card sales don't record as revenue until the cards are used, she noted.


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