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Retailers love Valentine's Day

Helped by the long holiday weekend and Valentine's Day shopping, same-store retail sales shot up higher than expected during the second week of February. Sales climbed by 5.2 percent over year-ago levels, easily besting a target of 4.5 percent growth, The Redbook Average reported.

Same-store sales rose 0.8 percent over the same period in January, surpassing a target of 0.5 percent. For the two weeks month-to-date, sales have now raced ahead by 4.8 percent, beating the target of 4.5 percent growth.

Department stores had an unexpectedly strong performance during the week, climbing by 4.1 percent and building on the 3.1 percent increase recorded the week before. Discounter sales jumped by 5.9 percent, following a 5.2 percent increase the previous week.

"Stores saw a tangible improvement in business through the week and into the weekend, which suggests that the trend may continue," said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. "Sales in the week were influenced by Spring promotions, Valentine's Day and the holiday weekend."

Some retailers, Levis reported, "attributed the strength to the fact that this year's Valentine's Day celebration fell on a Saturday, making it harder to ignore for those so inclined."

Sales, she added, "did not appear to be purely event driven. Several retailers said weather was another important factor. Conditions improved in those parts of the country which had been adversely affected earlier, encouraging shoppers to return to stores." Additionally, said Levis, "Warmer temperatures may have helped to boost early sales of spring merchandise, adding a seasonal component to the week."

Seasonal items topped sales-leader lists, led by apparel, especially children's and women's.

Redbook Retail Sales Average
Second week of February

Week ended 2/7 2/14 2/21 2/28 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Research Inc.
Department stores* 3.1 4.1 3.6 3.3
Discounters 5.2 5.9 5.6 5.3
Redbook Average 5.5 5.2 4.8 4.5


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