Late Valentine's Slows Retailers

Same-store retail sales cooled off modestly from a brisker pace earlier during the month, hampered in part by a later Valentine's Day this year, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

The Johnson Redbook Index advanced by 2 percent during the second week of February, modestly behind a 2.3 percent increase recorded the week before.

Month-to-date, same-store sales were up 2.2 percent from year-before levels, compared with a targeted gain of 2.3 percent. Sales for the two-week period were 0.5 percent above January's level, compared with a targeted 0.6 percent gain.

“Sales performance was mixed to slightly below plan,” said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. Valentine's Day was two days later than last year, pushing related sales into the subsequent fiscal week and prolonging related purchases, according to some retailers.

Levis said, “Retailers said the pace of sales was uneven, slowing down in the middle of the week but increasing and finishing up more firmly into the weekend. Other merchants claimed Super Bowl Sunday drove sales of food and beverages.”

Scoping out sales on a regional basis, Levis said, “Business was well distributed geographically, with some additional emphasis on the West Coast.”

Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index
Second week of February

WEEK ENDED 2/5 2/12 2/19 2/26 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index.
Department stores* 0.6 0.2 0.4 0.6
Discounters 3.5 3.2 3.3 3.4
Redbook Index 2.3 2.0 2.2 2.3

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