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December comps miss the mark - barely

New York - Same-store sales for December just missed the target set by The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index.

Redbook had projected a year-over-year comp gain of 2.6%. Actual same-store sales rose 2.5% during the month.

For the final week of December, ended Dec. 29 on the retail calendar, comps rose 2.9% on top of a 2.9% increase the previous week. Comps in the department store channel were up 1.2% during the week, while same-store sales in the discount segment clibed 3.9%.
"Sales for the final week were mixed, assisted by last minute Christmas shopping as well as post-Christmas exchanges and returns," said Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst. "Redemption of gift cards and bargain hunting were also a factor.
Retailers found themselves offering more promotions than they had originally anticipated, she added, "suggesting continuing margin pressure in an already challenging fourth quarter."
The Johnson Redbook Index's preliminary target for in January is for a 2.4% year-over-year gain, which would result in a month-over-month flat reading against December.

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