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Discounters Rescue July Comps

While department store operators finished July lagging comparative store sales goals, discounters ramped up comps each week and finished well ahead, resulting in an overall on-target retail month, the Johnson Redbook reported.

The Index was up 3.5% in the final week of July, for full-month comp gain of 2.9%. Discounters posted a sturdy 5.3% rise – as department store comps fell 1.1%.

"Closing out the month and the second quarter, some retailers reported a firmer tone in sales toward the weekend, especially in apparel and school-related purchases, which they attributed to the beginning of back-to-school demand and shoppers taking advantage of sales tax breaks which some states had in effect since Friday," said analyst Catlin Levis.

"Merchants reported that the tax-free holidays drew more store traffic than on a normal weekend in states including: Alabama, District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia," she noted.

August is a four-week retail month ending August 30. "Our preliminary target for August is for 2.8% same-store growth, leaving the month about 0.6% behind July," Levis said.

Johnson Redbook Index
Fourth Week of July, year-over-year % change

Week ended 7/12 7/19 7/26 8/2 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -0.6 -1.2 -1.4 -1.2 -1.1 -0.4
Discounters 4.7 4.8 5.4 6.1 5.3 4.9
Redbook Index 2.7 2.6 2.9 3.5 2.9 2.9


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