Price cuts help push comps down

New York – In a highly promotional environment, same-store sales continued to slide during the second week of July, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index declined 5.8% for the week ended July 18 following a 5.7% drop the prior week.

Month-to-date, July was down 5.7% compared to July of last year, relative to a target of a 5.0% drop. Month-over-month showed a 1.7% drop relative to June, compared to a targeted 0.9% drop.

July is a four-week month on the retail calendar ending on August 1.

Typically a clearance-oriented month, business in July has varied across store formats, “reflecting both promotional calendars and the availability of seasonal merchandise,” according to Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst.

Discount stores did their best business in consumer staples like food and household supplies, she said. And some retailers suggest “moderate interest” in their children's departments was evidence of early back-to-school buying.

But price is the overarching story at retail. Retailers have announced aggressive price cuts with focus on back-to-school, said Levis. New advertising campaigns centered on price competitiveness “could begin a price war among retailers.”

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