Same-store sales slow in last week of January

New York -- In a strong signal that consumers may be maxed out after the holiday's strong promotions, and growing antsy once again as layoffs continue to rise, same-store retail continued to slow moving into the fourth and final week of the month, according to the widely watched Redbook Report.

Still stunted by weakness in department stores, same-store sales edged up by 1.3 percent during the final week of the month, losing much of their energy after a strong start to the month, with a 1.9 percent bump-up in sales.

But the news remained good for home textiles producers, said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis, with sales of soft home products and home appliances leading the gains.

The performance gap continued to widen between the discounters and department stores as it has for more than a year and a half. Sales at the nation's low-price discounters climbed by 5.0 percent during the closing month of the week, while high-margin department stores declined by 4.5 percent. For the entire month, discounters gained by 4.9 percent, well ahead of a targeted gain of 4.2 percent. But department stores continued to stumble, declining by 3.8 percent, substantially missing a more modest targeted drop of 2.7 percent.

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