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Same-Store Sales Show Snap

Getting a lift from a cold weather snap that spurred sales of seasonal merchandise, same-store retail sales picked up steam during the third week of January, rising by 2.8% and gaining on a 2.5% increase the week before, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Department stores beat out discounters once again, but just barely, with a 2.9% increase vs. a 2.8% gain at mass merchants.

For the three weeks month-to-date, sales rose by 2.7%, slightly shy of a targeted increase of 2.8%.

"The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend and widespread wintry weather had a mixed effect by encouraging shoppers to purchase winter merchandise, yet keeping people at home and adversely impacting customer traffic," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "Since most winter inventory is on clearance, this type of business did not necessarily feed through into higher margins, but it did momentarily improve sales performance."

Skewing year-over-year sales comparisons somewhat, "January is a five-week month, which will be compared with a four-week month last year," said Levis. "Total sales growth might be inflated by this comparison while sales on a comparable store basis will not be affected."

Johnson Redbook Index
Third week of January, year-over-year % change

WEEK ENDED 1/6 1/13 1/20 1/27 2/3 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 3.0 2.6 2.9 2.8 2.9
Discounters 2.9 2.4 2.8 2.7 2.7
Redbook Index 2.9 2.5 2.8 2.7 2.8


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