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Hurricane weakens same-store sales

New York — Stymied by hurricane Isabel, which stalled-out traffic at East Coast malls, same-store retail sales skipped a beat during the third week of September, edging up by 2.6 percent, off their much stronger pace of the past several weeks, according to the Redbook Retail Sales Average.

Feeling the brunt of the bad weather was the full-price department store channel, which had been making something of a comeback. Sales there were virtually flat during the third week, inching up just 0.2 percent, after gains of more than a full percentage point during the past several weeks, climbing back on track after months of steady declines.

Discount store sales, while not as strong as in prior weeks, still advanced by 4.1 percent as consumers stocked up on necessities.

Given the disruption, same-store sales for the three weeks month-to-date fell slightly beneath plan, coming in with a 3.2 percent increase, just shy of a targeted gain of 3.4 percent.

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