Discounters' Sales Best Department Stores'

Don Hogsett, October 4, 2004

Helped by cooler weather and stronger bedding sales, same-store retail sales ticked up 2.9 percent during the fourth week of September, improving modestly on a 2.6 percent increase the week before, the Johnson Redbook reported.

Extending a trend line begun the week before, the gap widened between retail channels, with department stores falling further behind and discounters holding up better on their broader merchandise bases.

Redbook Analyst Catlin Levis said discounters continued to do “reasonable business in food and household basics, which were boosted somewhat by shoppers in the Southeast stocking up ahead of Hurricane Jeanne and also rebuilding after previous hurricanes.”

Levis added, “Among merchandise categories, consumables and other basic groups generally led business at discount stores, suggesting sales driven by everyday domestic demand in the absence of clear seasonal or other trends. Meanwhile, cooler weather drove sales of the bedding category, such as comforters and bedspreads.”

Elsewhere, the analyst said, “The release of the Star Wars Trilogy drove sales in toys, DVDs and other related electronic items. Some clothing categories were active, but apparel in general did not perform as well, hurting the department stores with their narrower merchandise bases. A number of department store retailers attributed the recent weakness primarily to temporary factors, such as higher gasoline prices and hurricanes.”

Johnson Redbook Sales Index
Fourth Week of September

WEEK ENDED 9/4 9/11 9/18 9/26 10/2 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores.
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* 1.5 1.8 0.8 0.7 1.2 2.3
Discounters 3.8 3.9 3.8 4.5 4.0 3.8
Redbook Index 2.9 3.0 2.6 2.9 2.9 2.8

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