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Comps Post Another Down Week

Although back-to-school demand improved sales toward the end of the week, same-store sales declined 5.4% for the fourth week of July, the Johnson Redbook reported last week.

Comps fell 5.6% compared to July 2008. Month-over-month, comps dropped 1.6% from June; Redbook had expected a more modest 0.9% decline.

Dicounters finished the month right on target, with a 3.6 drop in July. But department stores' 7.4% comp decline dragged down the broader index.

"Merchants reported that tax-free holidays across Georgia and Mississippi states drew more store traffic than on a normal weekend," said Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst. "Most retailers, however, do not expect to be able to assess back-to-school much before September."

Redbook's preliminary target for August is -4.9% same-store growth, leaving the month about 1.2% below July.

Johnson Redbook Index
Fourth week of July, year-over-year % change

WEEK ENDED 7/11 7/18 721 8/1 MONTH TARGET
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -8.9 -9.5 -8.5 -9.0 -9.1 -7.4
Discounters -3.9 -3.7 -3.5 -3.4 -3.6 -3.6
Redbook Index -5.7 -5.8 -5.5 -5.4 -5.6 -5.0

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