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Same-store sales on plan in January

As retailers cleaned out their shelves with clearance sales, same-store retail sales held relatively steady and mostly on plan during the fourth week of January, rising by 1.8 percent, following a 1.9 percent gain the prior week

Sales for January rose by 1.8 percent above prior-year levels, the Redbook Retail Sales Average reported, in line with expectations. January sales rose by 0.7 percent above December, again on target.

Redbook analyst Catlin Levis said retailers "closed the month and, for most, the fiscal year … essentially on plan."

However, she added, most retailers "cautioned against misinterpreting sales gains, which are driven in January by end-of-season merchandise clearances, and whose effects are limited by the month's small sales volumes relative to other months."

Importantly, Levis noted, "Many were satisfied with their inventory position, which allowed them to discount less aggressively than was the case last January."

Looking ahead, February contains two major sales events, Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day. Levis said Redbook has set a preliminary target for year-over-year same-store sales growth of 1.8 percent for the month.

Redbook Retail Sales Average
Fourth week of January

Week ended 1/11 1/18 1/25 2/1 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.
Department stores* -0.5 -2.3 -1.2 -0.8 -1.2 -1.2
Discounters 3.5 3.8 3.7 3.3 3.6 3.6
Redbook average 2.0 1.5 1.9 1.8 1.8 1.8

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