May Comps Keep Up Pace

Same-store sales perked up modestly during the third week of May, recovering from some softness the week before, but remained spotty and unsettled, the Johnson Redbook Index reported, in part due to unseasonably cool, wet weather in parts of the country.

Same-store sales rose by 2.4%, winning back some of the ground lost the week before, when sales slowed to a 2.0% gain from a strong 3.1% jump during the first week of May. Helped by the third week's improvement, sales for the three weeks month-to-date were up an on-target 2.3%.

Discounter sales rose by 2.8% for the third week and month-to-date periods, meeting plan. Department store comps rose by 1.7% for the week and month-to-date, slightly ahead of a target of 1.6% growth.

"Sales for the week were mixed," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "The persistence of unseasonably cool and rainy weather over the past two weeks in many parts of the country suppressed volume in seasonal business."

And that weakness in sales of seasonal merchandise, she said, "raises the possibility of stores having to take markdowns and cut margins from about mid-June onward in order to clear seasonal goods before the back-to-school season. Seasonal issues aside, retailers saw consistency in sales of food and other consumables."

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

Week ended 5/12 5/19 5/26 6/2 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 2.0 1.4 1.7 1.7 1.6
Discounters 3.1 2.4 2.8 2.8 2.8
Redbook Index 2.7 2.0 2.4 2.3 2.3

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