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Retail sales slip during September

New York — Retail same-store sales continued to weaken moving through September and fell by 1.0 percent during the fourth week of the month, forcing retailers across the nation to adjust downward their growth targets for the month and the third quarter.

The Redbook Retail Sales Average declined by 1.0 percent during the fourth week of September, turning negative after a small 0.6 percent gain the prior week. Sales have lost ground steadily through September, after the month got off to a robust start with a 2.2 percent increase.

Both discounters and department stores were feeling the squeeze during the fourth week of the month, with both channels of distribution missing their sales targets. Department store sales were especially hard hit, falling by 7.3 percent on the week, and for the four weeks month-to date had slipped by 3.5 percent, deeper than a forecast decline of 2.3 percent.

Sales at mass merchants grew by 3.1 percent during the week, well of the 4.7 percent growth rate during the first week of September. Month-to-date, discounter sales are up a slender 3.9 percent, falling well short of a targeted increase of 4.7 percent.

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