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Same-Store Sales Fall Short

Held in check by winter storms and lower prices at seasonal clearance sales, same-store retail sales came in under plan during the third week of January, rising 2.8 percent, but losing ground from a stronger 3.3 percent increase the prior week, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

The index's overall goal for the month is 3.2 percent growth.

Department store sales were hardest hit, coming in flat with the prior-year level, weakening from a 1.5 percent increase the week before. Discounter sales increased 4.5 percent, improving slightly on the 4.4 percent increase rung up the week before.

“Sales were mixed to softer in the third week, and our model pulled back from the on-plan position the previous week,” said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. “Winter storms had a mixed effect since they also encouraged shoppers to stock-up on basic consumables such as food and other necessities ahead of the blizzard. Cold temperatures across the nation, along with snowstorms, also boosted sales of boots and winter outerwear.”

But stronger sales aren't helping companies by dropping many dollars to the bottom line, Levis noted.

“Since most winter inventory is on clearance, winter apparel sales did not necessarily translate into higher margins. However, clearance did momentarily improve sales performance. The focus of clearance and inventory reshaping continued to make for thin, sporadic activity during the week, typical of the transitional month of January,” she stated.

Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index
Third week of January

Week ended 1/8 1/15 1/22 1/29 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 1.1 1.5 0.0 0.9 0.8
Discounters 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.7
Redbook Average 3.1 3.3 2.8 3.1 3.2


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