Redbook average edges up 1.6%

Don Hogsett, June 25, 2001

New York — With the weather getting warmer and consumers' spirits perking up modestly, retail same-store sales edged up by 1.6 percent over year-ago levels during the second week in June, Redbook Retail Sales Average reported.

Picking up steam moving into the summer season, the 1.6 percent increase marked a small, but solid, improvement over a 1.1 percent increase recorded the prior week. For the two weeks month to date, same-store sales advanced by 1.4 percent, almost hitting the target 1.5 percent gain.

"Retail sales were modestly higher relative to the previous week but remained slightly below plan for the month to date," said Redbook analyst Catlin Levis. "Retailers said that business picked up nationwide, as widespread warmer temperatures appeared finally to shift consumers toward long-awaited seasonal purchases. Temperatures across the country have finally warmed up to seasonal levels, sparking sales of hot weather retail items, such as fans, air conditioners, water toys, swimwear and footwear."

Once again, discounters led the way with their 3.8 percent increase, compared with a 2.0 percent drop at department stores. Even so, department stores made some slight improvements, with the 2.0 percent decline improving over the prior week's 2.3 percent drop. For the first two weeks of the month, department stores actually hit their target of a 2.1 percent decline, while discounters fell slightly shy of the mark, with their 3.7 percent increase missing a 3.8 percent target.

Levis said, "Items showing the best increases at discounters were once again horticultural items, electronics, office supplies and health and beauty aids. Elsewhere, household basics generally held up well, while home-related merchandise continued to show strength. The Northeast and Western regions in general continued to be the strongest."

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