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Redbook: December sales shy

NEW YORK – In a limp and disappointing finish to the all-important Christmas selling season, when many retailers aim to record the lion’s share of a year’s profits, same-store retail sales inched up just 2.6 percent during the fifth and final week of December, making the month a disheartening one, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

Sales slowed substantially following a 4.5-percent increase the preceding week, coming in beneath plan, said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. For December, sales rose by 3.4 percent over year-before levels, missing the target of a 3.8-percent increase. Sales were down 0.2 percent from November’s level, shy of a targeted upswing of 0.1 percent.

Looking ahead to the start of 2006, Levis said, “Our preliminary target for the Johnson Redbook Index in January is 2.6 percent year-over-year growth, which would result in flat month-to-month growth against December.”

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