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Hurricane parade dampens sales

NEW YORK — Hobbled by hurricanes in the Southeast and weakening sales at department stores as consumers shunned non-essentials and stocked up on basics at discounters, same-store retail sales slowed during the third week of September, rising 2.6 percent, following a 3 percent gain the preceding week, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Putting pressure on the Redbook Index was a slowdown at full-price department stores, where sales edged ahead 0.8 percent, following a strong 1.8 percent increase the prior week. Discounter sales held steady with a 3.8 percent gain, little changed from a 3.9 percent increase the week before.

"Discount stores remained essentially on plan, while department stores were decidedly softer," said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. "This is in itself revealing of trends, since sales performance at the discounters was sustained largely by non-seasonal hard lines, especially electronics and basic consumables, which are typically tied to the payroll cycle."

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