Dept. stores push Redbook up 2.0%

With department stores running well ahead of plan thanks to post-holiday bargain-hunters, same-store retail sales climbed by 2.0 percent during the first week of January, improving over the anemic 0.2 percent increase recorded the week before.

Department stores sales, extending their long losing streak, slipped by 0.5 percent, but it was still a much stronger performance than the 1.2 percent decline that had been expected, according to the Redbook Retail Sales Average. Discounter sales rose by 3.5 percent, just shy of a target of a 3.6 percent gain.

"Sales were on to ahead of plan for some companies in our model in the first week of January, an improvement from December's weak close," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "The focus on final clearance typically makes January a somewhat volatile swing month, with low contributions to annual volumes and margins."

Department stores, said Levis, "were helped by a soft comparison with the year-ago week. Retailers at these stores said business was driven by consumers in search of bargains in a promotional, price-driven environment. Sales-leader lists included electronics, toys, children's apparel, intimate apparel and consumer basics."

Levis added, "Clearance is the key theme in January, with most retailers planning to bring in new spring merchandise at about the middle of the month. Most retailers are continuing to carefully manage promotional activity and inventory levels and are entering the new fiscal year with less clearance merchandise than a year ago. The outlook for business remains cautious despite the ongoing tough retail environment."

Redbook Retail Sales Average
First week of January

Week ended 1/11 1/18 1/25 2/1 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.
Department Stores* -0.5 -0.5 -1.2
Discounters 3.5 3.5 3.6
Redbook Average 2.0 2.0 1.8

Home & Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

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