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Same-store sales meet expectations

NEW YORK -- Helped by a sturdy, if not especially strong, Labor Day holiday event, same-store retail sales advanced 3 percent over year-before levels during the second week of September, in line with expectations, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.

"Retailers said the holiday, while positive, was in line with expectations but did not particularly exceed forecasts," said Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis. Retailers' plans for the month, she noted, "are not especially ambitious." Business, Levis added, "tailed off sharply in the middle of the week, only to build up again into the weekend."

Building on recent strength, sales at the nation's department stores improved 1.8 percent, gaining on a 1.5 percent rise the preceding week. For the two weeks month-to-date, department store sales are running sharply ahead of plan, up 1.7 percent, compared with a targeted gain of 1.2 percent.

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