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Redbook shows retail rebound

New York — Recovering from a drop in sales — particularly at department stores — during the week following the terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center, the nation's big retailers climbed back on track during the third week of September, reporting business more or less as usual, according to the Redbook Retail Sales Average.

"Sales rebounded somewhat in the third week of September, with pockets of relative strength combined with some weakness, but the overall effect was to continue the downward drift which has so far marked September's tone of retail sales," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis.

The Redbook Average climbed by 2.2 percent during the week, putting sales for the month-to-date a slight 0.2 percent higher than a year ago, but substantially behind a targeted gain of 2.3 percent.

But measured on a month-over-month basis, September sales so far are down 2.2 percent from August levels, compared to a target of flat sales.

"In contrast to their noticeable week-ago decline, discount stores as a group were slightly ahead of target during the week, while department stores continued their falling trend," said Levis. Same-store sales at discounters climbed by 4.5 percent during the week. Sales at department stores declined by 1.0 percent, but even that was a big improvement over the prior week's plunge of 13.7 percent in the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster.

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