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Same-store sales fall short in July

Clearly spooked by a tumbling stock market and withering retirement accounts, Americans dramatically scaled back spending during July, with same-store sales falling far short of the mark.

Clouding the July results even further, and making it all the more difficult to get a clear fix on what's going on at retail, stores were up against a tough comparison with last year, when consumers were cashing in their newly minted tax rebate checks, inflating sales for the year-before period.

Despite some firming during the last week of the month, same-store sales for all of July slipped by 0.4 percent from June levels, well short of a targeted month-over-month increase of 0.3 percent, the Redbook Retail Sales Average reported.

And up against July 2001, same-store sales moved up by 1.7 percent, well short of a targeted 2.4 percent increase.

Department store sales for July were pretty much on plan, slipping by 3.0 percent from year-ago levels, compared with a forecast decline of 2.9 percent. But discounters came up short, with a 4.4 percent increase falling short of a planned gain of 5.6 percent.

Redbook Retail Sales Average
Third week of June

WEEK ENDED 7/13 7/20 7/27 8/3 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.
Department Stores* -3.3 -1.9 -3.8 -3.1 -3.0 -2.9
Discounters 4.4 5.3 3.6 4.4 4.4 5.6
Redbook Average 1.5 2.6 0.9 1.7 1.7 2.4

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