Upstairs chains falter in October comp sales

New York – This season’s gap between same-store sales performance by discounters and department stores continued, as the mass chains closed out October on goal, while class chains fell short, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

Discounters finished the four-week retail month with comps up an on-target 2.5%. Upstairs chains, however, saw comps close at 1.4%, well shy of the 2.1% plan.

The fourth week, which ended Nov. 3, saw department stores ring up a 0.9% comp gain, while downstairs merchants reached a 2.5% comp rise. Together, that made for a 1.9% comp gain in the final week, and October overall comps were up 2.1%, short of the 2.3% plan. Month-over-month was 0.4% below September, vs. a targeted 0.2% drop.

For some retailers, Halloween was more a distraction than a plus, said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis, who said for those chains, “the holiday simply meant that the continuing lull in seasonal demand was compounded by lower traffic as Halloween celebrations kept shoppers away.”

“Our preliminary target for November is for 2.3% year-over-year same-store growth, generating a month-over-month gain, November versus October of 0.3%,” said Levis.

She noted that the November retail month, which ends Dec. 1, includes Election Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. “The main shopping event Thanksgiving falls in the third week of the month, a week earlier than it did last year on the retail calendar.”

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