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August kicks off with comp gain

New York - The tax-free weekend across several U.S. states boosted comps by 3.7% last week, according to the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index.

For the retail week ended Aug. 8, same-store sales rose 4.5% in the discount channel and 2.1% in the department store segment.

As Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst explained, the week's sales were helped by back-to-school tax holidays in 10 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

"Shoppers focused on summer clearance sales and began to look at freshly shelved back-to-school merchandise," she said.

Most stores are currently in mid-transition between summer clearance and back-to-school, she added.

"The full impact of back-to-school will not be seen until late this month, or early September, it remains too early to assess any trend," Levis continued. "While the back-to-school season is not a direct predictor of holiday sales, it does offer important clues about consumers' spending attitudes leading up to the most critical season of the year."

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