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Weather drives June sales

With overheated consumers seeking out the cool shelter of air-conditioned malls, same-store retail sales jumped up by 3.7 percent during the fifth and final week of June, staging a strong comeback and providing a big finish to the month.

Fueled by persistently strong gains at the nation's big discounters, The Redbook Retail Sales Average advanced by 3.4 percent over year-before levels for the entire month of June, coming in well ahead of a targeted gain of 3.0 percent. June sales scored a 1.8 percent increase over May, compared with a targeted 1.5 percent gain.

Redbook analyst Catlin Levis said, "The gain was caused in part by a sharp increase in temperatures across the Northeast, culminating in record hot weather over the July Fourth holiday. This spurred demand for summer merchandise and also drove consumers into air-conditioned malls and outlets to escape the heat."

Levis said, "Retailers reported big increases in traffic, which in turn led to additional business. Seasonal sales were good in most store formats and across hard and soft lines as consumers stepped up demand for items ranging from air conditioners to summer apparel."

But looking ahead, sales could cool off somewhat during July. Levis noted, "July, which is a four-week month ending Aug. 3, is typically a relatively low-volume month, with sales driven by discounting as stores clear summer goods and restock for fall. Our preliminary target is for year-over-year growth of 3.1 percent which, if met, would generate a 0.9 percent change against June."

Redbook Retail Sales Average
Fifth week of June

Week ended 6/9 6/15 6/22 6/29 7/6 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.
Department Stores* -0.6 -2.0 -1.7 -2.8 -2.0 -1.8 -0.9
Discounters 6.6 6.6 5.7 6.6 7.2 6.5 5.4
Redbook Average 3.9 3.3 2.9 3.0 3.7 3.4 3.0


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