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Retail Sales Just Shy Of Target

The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index was up 3 percent in the first week of September, just short of a 3.1 percent targeted gain.

The index moved up 3.4 percent last week.

“Sales were driven by twin themes of back-to-school and seasonal apparel, reflected in sales of children's clothing and school supplies. Discount stores registered strong food sales and active back-to-school business ahead of the Labor Day weekend,” stated Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis.

“However, the pricing environment was said to be highly competitive in non-apparel lines. Discounters noted that rising gasoline prices would probably restrain September sales because customers would have less money to spend in stores. Others also noted sales were negatively impacted in the regions affected by Hurricane Katrina.”

Levis added that despite the closing of stores due to the hurricane, retailers expected a pickup in business as clean up begins.

Meanwhile, she added, retailers with significant exposure to New York, “said the sales tax moratorium (Aug. 30 to Sept. 5) boosted local business but was not likely to noticeably impact September results when averaged across all regions and all weeks.”

September is a five-week month on the retail calendar ending on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Johnson Redbook Index
First Week of September

Week ended 9/3 9/10 9/17 9/24 10/1 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 2.7 2.7 2.8
Discounters 3.2 3.2 3.3
Redbook Average 3.0 3.0 3.1

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