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Discounters driving August same-store sales  

Johnson Redbook Index, August 2007New York– Mass merchandisers continue to provide most of the energy as overall comparable store sales rose 2.4% in the third week of August, the Johnson Redbook reported.

Month-to-date, August was up 2.3% compared to last year, beating the target of a 2.1% gain. Month-over-month was 0.7% below July, ahead of a targeted 0.9% drop.

To date, discounters have posted a 3.4% comp gain as the August retail month enters its final week – ahead of a 3.2% target for the month. Upstairs chains are just ahead of their modest goal of 0.3%, tracking at 0.4% month-to-date.

 “Sales growth continued above plan at most key retailers in the third week,” said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis, who noted support from sales tax holidays in Connecticut and Texas .

 “Apparel sales were holding up well in the South and other regions where school starts earlier. Sales of durables were firmer, sustained mainly by demand for electronic goods,” she said. “People are positioning their purchases closer to the time of actual need. Many students want to see what other students are wearing before purchasing clothing. Meanwhile, back-to-school sales were disrupted in some parts of Midwest due to flooding and heavy rain.”

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