Department Stores Widen Comp Advantage
December 4, 2006-- Home Textiles Today,
Driven by early and aggressive promotions, free gifts and early-bird specials, same-store retail sales improved by 2.9% during the fourth week of November, but not as much as they had in the three prior weeks, when sales had climbed as much as 3.4%, the Johnson Redbook Index reported.
It was a big week for department stores, where comps jumped up by 4.9%, rising three times as fast as the slender 1.6% increase recorded at the nation's mass merchants. Reflecting a recent shift in buying patterns, department store sales have climbed steadily higher through the first four weeks of November, from a 3.8% gain during the opening week, to the more recent 4.9% gain. But sales have steadily weakened at discounters, beginning the month with a 3.1% increase, and gradually subsiding to a 1.6% gain during the final week of the month.
Scoping out the post-Thanksgiving weekend, the official start to the shopping season, Redbook analyst Catlin Levis observed, "Generally, the weekend did not change existing patterns: those who were already doing well finished strongly, while those who were struggling did not."
Looking ahead, Levis set a preliminary target of a 3.4% year-over-year gain in December comps.
Johnson Redbook Index
Fourth week of November, year-over-year % change
|*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index