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Redbook index released

Retail sales fell off during the second week of February, a second straight week of declines, despite a bump-up provided by the Valentine's Day holiday, the Redbook Retail Index reported.

Adjusted retail sales dipped by 0.5 percent from January levels after dropping by 0.9 percent the prior week. After getting guidance from key U.S. retailers, the widely watched Redbook service has set a target for the month of a small 0.1 percent decline from January levels. Measured on a year-over-year basis, sales for the first two weeks of February rose by 2.4 percent, with a sales target for the month of a 2.9 percent increase.

Despite a lift from the holiday, usually a major draw, sales at big broadlines retailers, including department stores and chains, were mixed, while discounters modestly beat their sales targets for the month. Redbook analysts said the overall sales pattern for February is unlikely to improve during the remaining weeks of the month from their below-plan sales target.

In addition to sales of items pegged to the Valentine's holiday, like candy, cosmetics, jewelry and women's accessories, some retailers also reported continuing sales from discounted winter merchandise.

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