Chilly shoppers finally warm up

With cold weather settling in across much of the United States, chilled out consumers flocked to the malls to buy winter clothing, pushing same-store retail sales up by 4.1 percent, easily beating a target of a 3.7 percent increase, the Redbook retail sales Average reported.

Getting a lift from more normalized weather patterns, same-store sales recovered from the sluggish sales that characterized the past few weeks, when uncharacteristically warm weather blunted sales of seasonal apparel.

Discounters and department stores easily beat their targets for the first week of November. Department stores, still on a recovery roll, advanced by 2.0 percent, besting a target of 1.8 percent growth.

Discounters climbed by 5.6 percent vs. a sales target of 5.1 percent.

Measured on a month-over-month basis, sales were down by 2.9 percent from October levels, a smaller decline than the 3.2 percent drop that had been forecast.

"The overall gain was ahead of expectations for the month, with the majority of retailers in our sample meeting or exceeding plan," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

"An increase in customer traffic in the week helped to spur gains across the board. Business improved as the week progressed."

Redbook Retail Sales Average
First week of November

Week ended 11/08 11/16 x11/22 11/29 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.
Department stores* 2.0 2.0 1.8
Discounters 5.6 5.6 5.1
Redbook Average 4.1 4.1 3.7

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